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-V , 













" I will go in the strength of the Lord God : I will make mention 

of thy righteousness, even of thine only. O God, thou hast taught 

me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous 

works. Now also when I am old and grey-headed, O God, forsake 

me not ; until I have shewed thy strength unto-this generation, and 

thy power to every one that is to come." 

Ps. lxxi. 16-18. 

" Commit thy way unto the Lord ; trust also in him ; and he 

shall bring it to pass." 

Ps. xxxvii. 5. 

" And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we 

shall reap, if we faint not." 

Gal. vi. 9. 

" Lord, not my will but thine be done ! " 


' Malheureux celui qui est en avant de son siede." 

" Oft as ye sink : Rise." 

" The world may say I've fail'd : I have not fail'd 
If I set truth 'fore men they will not see ; 
Tia they who fail, not I. My faith holds firm, 
And time will prove me right." 

" Che saTa sara." 

The present work contains the narrative of an 
expedition to North- Western Arabia, undertaken 
at the commencement of 1874, by my lamented 
husband, Dr. Charles Beke, Ph.D., F.S.A., F.R.G.S. 
(at the advanced age of seventy-three, and on 
recovering from a serious illness), in order to esta- 
blish, by personal observation, the correctness of 
the views expressed by him in his Origines Biblicce 
forty-four years ago, respecting the true position 
and physical character of the Mount of God on 
which the Law was delivered to Moses, the inspired 
leader of the Israelites. 


The first three chapters, which were written by 
Dr. Beke, show the results of this expedition, and 
may claim to be considered the outcome of the 
efforts of the greater part of a lifetime to elucidate 
and substantiate the truth of the Bible History 
from the Holy Scriptures themselves. 

By disputing only the " traditional explanations 
of the Geography of the Scriptures " — the errors 
of which have unhappily caused the authority of 
the Scriptures themselves to be called in question — 
and by endeavouring to discover the correct posi- 
tion of the Mount of God in Horeb, where was 
delivered that Divine Law which to this day forms 
the basis of the legislation of all civilised nations 
and the rule of their religious and social conduct, 
and upon the settlement of which question depends 
the right understanding of the whole history 
of the Exodus, Dr. Beke has, I venture to think 
my readers will admit, incontrovertibly cleared 
away many of the difficulties and doubts which 
have hitherto disturbed earnest and anxious 

He has done a good work in having thus paved 
the way for others to arrive at a final settlement of 
the whole of the important questions connected with 
the Exodus of the Israelites, whereby many wan- 


derers may (with God's help) be brought back to 
the fold. 

My husband left England on his memorable 
journey in search of the true Mount Sinai on 
December 8, 1873 ; and, after an absence of three 
months and eleven days, he returned home on 
March 19, 1874, having in the intervening period 
accomplished his task, and discovered " Mount 
Sinai in Arabia" (Jebel-e'-Nur, the Mountain of 
Light), precisely in the position where he con- 
tended it should be looked for. He was also so 
fortunate as to discover Moses 1 " Place of Prayer " 
at Madian, the capital of Midian, where Captain 
Burton 1 has now gone to make further explora- 
tions, and to develop the gold mines of this 
ancient Land of Midian. 

But although Dr. Beke found his Mount Sinai, it 
turned out not to be a " volcano,'* as he had pre- 
viously contended that it might be ; or at least, Dr. 
Beke says, " it cannot be proved to have been one, 
but at the same time cannot be proved not to have 
been one. If this is really the true Mount Sinai, 
it is as little a * volcano ' as the traditional one is, 

1 Just after I had Rent these pages to press, I saw the gratifying 
announcement in the "Times" of Captain Burton's safe return, 
bringing with him twenty-five tons of ore. 


or else geology is all at fault. The same arguments 
that Sir George Airy uses to prove that the tradi- 
tional mountain was volcanic, will, however, apply 
to this mountain also, for the geological formation 
of both seems the same." 

The truthful, manly, and straightforward way in 
which, it will be remembered, Dr. Beke's recanta- 
tion was at once announced, the public will hardly 
have failed to appreciate. The courage which such 
an act required could but have sprung from the 
highest and most unselfish motives, 1 and must have 
proved to demonstration that the first and sole 
object of Dr. Beke's expedition was simply the 
elucidation of the truth. Such an admission of the 
fact of his not finding his Mount Sinai to be a 
volcano, as he had expected, can surely not be 
deemed to invalidate, but, on the contrary, to 
enhance, the value of Dr. Beke's discovery. Of 
the action of one who will admit with frank and 
ready courtesy that he has been mistaken, it may 
be said that it " blesseth him that gives and him 
that takes " — it covers his own retreat with grace- 
fulness, and gives his adversaries a pleasant 
memory of an encounter with a generous foe. 

The controversy which ensued in the columns of 

1 See p. 436. 


the "Times" and other journals 1 upon the ques- 
tion, is doubtless fresh in the minds of those who 
are interested in this important subject, as also 
the sad fact that my lamented husband's sudden 
death unhappily cut all further controversy and 
his labours short. His pen dropped from his hand 
ere he could complete the rSsumS, upon which he 
was engaged, of the facts collected on his journey 
and from his long and deep researches. The loss is 
irremediable, and for me too recent and painful to 
dwell on here. 

Thus, the trying responsibility unfortunately de- 
volved upon me of editing this work. The first 
three chapters, although to a certain extent com- 
pleted, required some revision, and the many re- 
ferences to the authorities from whom Dr. Beke 
drew his information, and to which he alludes with 
brevity — although not too concise for his own 
well-stored mind — left his editor many difficulties 
to overcome. 

In this emergency, the Rev. Albert Lowy, the 
learned editor of the works published by the 
Society of Hebrew Literature, kindly came to my 
aid, and not only volunteered me the benefit of his 
able revision of most of the Hebrew texts which 

1 See Appendix B. 


occur ; but through his friendly instrumentality I 
am also indebted to Mr. Richard Garnett, of the 
British Museum, for much valuable assistance ; and 
to both these gentlemen I have the greatest plea- 
sure in here recording my sincere thanks. To 
Mr. W. W. Waddington, whose services in verify- 
ing references I have availed myself of, my thanks 
are also due. 

I fear that the publication of this book has 
been looked for long ere this, but continued ill- 
health and lack of meafis rendered the execution of 
this labour of love utterly impossible on my part. 
My health, however, by God's blessing, becoming 
somewhat re-established last summer, I felt it to 
be one of my first duties to endeavour to publish 
this work, and that I owed it no less in justice to 
my husband's memory than to the subscribers to 
his expedition. 

My best and most earnest thanks must, therefore, 
here be tendered to the liberal-minded noblemen 
and friends who so kindly assisted wk privately 
in my efforts to publish this book. Also to my 
adopted daughter, Mrs. J. Laurence-Levi, without 
whose self-sacrifice, indefatigable solicitude, and 
invaluable co-operation I could not have accom- 
plished my task. 


I could have wished that the editing of so im- 
portant a work had fallen to some far more com- 
petent person, and one better able than I am to 
render justice to my husband's labours, and to the 
subject generally. I would venture, however, to 
ask my readers, before perusing the following 
pages, to be so good as to bear in mind that I do 
not lay claim to any literary merit in the pro- 
duction of this work ; but simply to have given 
to the public a truthful and unvarnished state- 
ment of what my lamented husband did and 
saw on his expedition in search of the true Mount 

I have felt that I could not do this better, or 
more satisfactorily to others, than by letting Dr. 
Beke's very characteristic letters to me (as the 
late Mr. William Longman suggested), on this, his 
last journey, tell their own tale — as I believe they, 
and his "Notes on Egypt," will be found most 
interesting, especially at the present time. 

If in giving them, as I have done, almost ver- 
batim, I should have given my readers cause to 
complain of a certain amount of repetition, I must 
remind them that they were written more as a 
journal of daily events than as ordinary letters ; 
and that from the sad fact of this journey having 


been Dr. Beke's last, I have not liked to omit more 
than was absolutely necessary. 

Though Dr. Beke harJly expected latterly to 
have been permitted to accomplish it himself, this 
journey was one of his most cherished wishes, 
and was one of the last tasks he had set himself 
to perform in early life, it being one of those 
" dreams " so feelingly referred to in his Preface 
to his " British Captives in Abyssinia." 

It may well be conceived, therefore, that his 
gratitude to those few scientific and other friends 
who generously supported his expedition was com- 
mensurate with the importance of the subject he 
had so much at heart. 1 

I am glad to avail myself of this opportunity of 
respectfully expressing my deep reconnaisance to 
the enlightened and generous patron of scientific 
exploration, His Highness the Khedive of Egypt, 
who, by having kindly granted Dr. Beke the use 
of a steamer, so materially conduced to alleviate 
the fatigues of my husband's journey, and to its 
successful accomplishment. 

1 With profound regret I see in the " Times " of the 4th May 
the announcement of the sad and fatal termination of the accident 
to Sir Francis H. Goldsmid, Bart, M.P., one of the most generous 
and kind-hearted patrons of my late husband. The loss of so good 
and noble a man will be universally felt. 


Further, I beg to tender my thanks to his 
Excellency Nubar Pasha, and to Messrs. Oppen- 
heim & Co. (especially Mr. Henry Oppenheim), 
through whose courtesy and aid Dr. Beke's " wish" 
was brought to the knowledge of the Khedive. 
The ready help afforded Dr. Beke by the several 
naval officials, and our many other good friends in 
Egypt, was fully appreciated. 

I must also state how great a relief it was to 
Dr. Beke to have been accompanied by so able a 
geologist 1 and assistant generally as Mr. John 
Milne, as my husband frequently testifies. The 
illustrations are nearly all from sketches by Mr. 
Milne, whose valuable services as artist, geologist, 
botanist, and conchologist to the expedition, I have 
much pleasure in recording, though I regret that, 
owing to his absence in Japan, these reports have 
not had the benefit of his revision; but Messrs. 
William Carruthers, F.R.S., and Edgar Smith, of 
the British Museum, have done me the favour to 
revise the botanical and conchological lists. 

The observations made by Dr. Beke on the 
journey 2 were computed by Mr. R Strachan, at 

1 The geological specimens, &c, collected at Midian and Akaba 
were, by Dr. Beke's desire, presented to the British Museum. 
* See Appendix C. 

been Dr. Bel 
than was al» 

Though ] 
have been i> 
journey w;i 
and was oil 
to perfoi'n 
" dreams " 
to his " I! 

It mn ^ 
who gen 
had so r 

the en 
who, 1" 
of a «i 
the &[!, 

1 Wiih ].,■ 

and kind-bet* 

and noble a i 


a labour of love) I have imposed on myself, is 
that of giving to the world the last fruits of 
my husband's labours — which he himself was not 
permitted to see ripen, but which, had he been 
spared to bring to maturity, would have afforded a 
much richer store — and because I could not hope 
to do justice to his thoughts and intentions. But 
in spite of this and of the numerous drawbacks 
I have had to contend against, I have nevertheless 
been unwilling to withhold altogether from the 
public the information my dear husband has left. 

I am indebted to Messrs. Trtibner & Co., my 
publishers, for considerable assistance and kind- 
ness ; and also to my printers, Messrs. Ballantyne, 
Hanson & Co., for the trouble they have taken 
with the manuscript of an invalid. 

In conclusion, I have only to mention that I 
have recently heard that Mr. Holland has again 
started for Mount Sinai. It is, therefore, earnestly 
to be hoped, that he will not fail to give to Dr. 
Beke's ' Mount Sinai ' that attention and impartial 
consideration and further investigation which it so 
richly deserves, and which all who desire to arrive 
at the truth must wish to see bestowed upon it* 
Should Mr. Holland do this, it cannot be doubted 


that he will bring back information of the highest 
value, for which he will merit the grateful thanks 
of myself and all believers in the truth of the Bible 
narrative. May God speed him ! 


nee Alston. 

Ferndale View, Tunbridge- Wells, 

2$th April 1878, 

The Anniversary of my Wedding-Day, 


/NTT • 1MUI »»"k V 


Page 69, line 14, for " Aiuunah," read " Ainunah." 
„ 153, lines 1 and 5, for " Wallin," read " Waller." 
„ 157, line 11, for "Mr. Kay," read "Mrs. Kay." 
,,284, „ 4, „ "East," read "West." 
„ „ „ 7, „ "West," read "East." 

,,392, „ 17, „ " Kellaat-el-Nakhl," read' 'Kala'at-el-Nakhl." 
,,459, ,, 6, „ "running," read "remaining." 


8EA OF EDOM, . . . . . 285 

xviii CONTENTS. 



MITZRAIM, ....... 387 



HOMEWARD BOUND, ..... 489 


BY MR. JOHN MILNE, F.G.8., . . . 525 





PH.D., F.S.A., F.R.G.S., ETC., .... 591 


AND FEBRUARY 1 874, . . . • 593 







> Frontispiece 


8HERM EL MOVJEH . . 319 

AINtiNAH 327 

MIDI A » 340 


PLAN OF DO. 349 











At end of Book 



The Woodcut* are by Mr. W. /. Welch.. 






When we take into consideration the momentous 
character of the subject, it would seem natural to 
conclude that the position of the Holy Mountain 
on which the Law was revealed to the inspired 
leader of the Israelites, would not, and indeed could 
not, be a matter of question. We might reasonably 
conjecture that the Mount of God would be to them 
too sacred a spot ever to have been lost sight of ; 
that the knowledge of its locality could not have 
failed to be retained by the whole people from 
generation to generation, and handed down by 
them to their descendants the Jews; that from 
these, in due course of time, it would have been 
transmitted to the Christians, and religiously pre- 
served by the latter down to the present day. But 
it is not so. 

• Written by the late Dr. Beke, 28th May 1874. 



As far as the written records of the Israelites 
are concerned, the mention of Sinai, or Horeb, 1 as 
it is otherwise called, is confined to the history of 
Moses and of the Exodus narrated in the Penta- 
teuch, with the single exception of the incident 
in the life of the prophet Elijah, who is recorded * 
to have gone from Beersheba unto "Horeb the 
Mount of God," and to have there lodged in a 
cave, which is conjectured, not unreasonably per- 
haps, though without a tittle of evidence in 
support of the conjecture, to have been the 
identical " cleft of the rock " wherein Moses had 
been hidden * when the glory of the Lord passed 
by him. 

If, therefore, any tradition on the subject existed 
among the Jews, it must have been simply oral, 
liable to be forgotten in the lapse of ages, and 
especially during the time of national peril. Their 
descendants at the present day avow that they 
have no traditional knowledge on the subject. 
Nevertheless it is a remarkable fact that the 
Jewish historian Josephus gives a description of 
Mount Sinai, from which it would almost appear 
that some traditional knowledge on the subject 

1 Exod. iii. i ; Deut. i. 6. 2 i Kings xix. 8, 9. 

3 Exod. xxxiii 22. 


had been handed down to his time. When relating 
how Moses fled from Pharaoh, king of Egypt, he 
says that " he came to the city Midian, which lay 
upon the Red Sea, and was so denominated from 
one of Abraham's sons by Keturah." 1 Now we 
are told in Scripture, that those descendants of the 
Patriarch were sent into the " east country," 2 that 
is to say, into the regions lying to the east of the 
valley of the Jordan and its continuance south- 
ward to the Gulf of Akaba, and not anywhere 
within the peninsula west of that gulf, where 
Moses's place of refuge has been so erroneously 
imagined to have been situated. 

The Jewish historian then goes on to describe 
the Mountain of God in these specific terms: — 
"Now this is the highest of all the mountains 
thereabout, and the best for pasturage, the herbage 
being there good ; and it had not been before fed 
upon, because of the opinion men had that God 
dwelt there, the shepherds not daring to ascend 
up to it." 3 

And in a subsequent passage, when describing 
how Moses ascended Mount Sinai, he says, this 
mountain was " the highest of all the mountains 

1 Josephus, lib. ii. cap. xi. sect. 1, Whiston's trans. 

1 Gen. xxv. 6. 8 Op. cit, lib. ii. cap. xii. sect 1. 

V 1 


that are in that country, and is not only very 
difficult to be ascended by men, on account of its 
vast altitude, but because of the sharpness of its 
precipices also ; nay, indeed, it cannot be looked 
at without pain of the eyes ; and besides this, it 
was terrible and inaccessible, on account of the 
rumour that passed about, that God dwelt there. 

In the Christian Scriptures the only mention 
made of the Mountain of the Law is by the 
Apostle Paul, who, in his Epistle to the Galatians/ 
Bpeaks of " Mount Sinai in Arabia ; " which ex- 
pression, however, is too indefinite to allow any 
conclusion to be drawn from it, except perhaps 
that, as in the Apostle's time, the name of Arabia 
was limited to the country east of the Jordan, 
Mount Sinai itself must likewise have been 
deemed to have been situated there. And as 
Aretas, king of Arabia, that is to say, Arabia 
Petraea, of which Petra was the capital, 8 was at 
the same time king of Damascus ; 4 and as in the 
same Epistle the Apostle expressly relates, how, 
after his conversion, "immediately he conferred 
not with flesh and blood," but "went into 

1 Op. cit, lib. iii cap. v. sect i. 

• Gal. iv. 25. 

3 See Josephus, Antiq. xiv. 1,4; Wars of the Jews, i. 6, 2. 

* See 2 Cor. xi. 32 ; Originee Biblicae, p. 254 (note) ; Gal. i. 16, 17. 


Arabia" whence he "returned again to Damas- 
cus;" it may even be conjectured that the 
Apostle had "Mount Sinai in Arabia" in his 
mind, in consequence of his personal acquaintance 

with the locality. 

Still this would be ascribing to the Apostle 
more accurate geographical knowledge than pro- 
bably we have a right to attribute to him. It is 
nevertheless possible that this statement of St. 
Paul, like that of his contemporary and co- 
religionist Josephus, may have been derived from 
the last lingering spark of Jewish oral tradition, 
which did not become quite extinguished till after 
the cessation of the national existence of the people. 

It may not be without bearing on this subject 
to add, that Justin Martyr, who flourished about 
the middle of the second century, when speak- 
ing of the Magi, or wise men, who, in the first 
Gospel, 1 are said to come " from the east," always 
describes them as " Magi from Arabia " (fiayoi diro 

Meanwhile, however, the school of Alexandria 
had come into existence, to which so many learned 
Jews belonged, and which exercised so vast an 
influence upon early Christianity. Naturalised in 

1 Matt ii. 1. * Dial. Try ph., lxxviii. cvi. 


Egypt, the Jews were proud to » trace a connection 
which, in reality, had never existed between the 
history of their adopted country and that of their 
Hebrew ancestors, and hence they came to re- 
model the geography of the Pentateuch from an 
Egyptian point of view. 

On this important subject I have already stated 
my opinion in my first work, " Origines Biblicae," * 
published in the year 1834, and in many subse- 
quent publications, and I shall also have occasion 
to discuss it in a subsequent portion of the present 
work ; I therefore need not dwell on it now.* All 
that I have occasion to say here is, that the 
passage of the Israelites through the Red Sea, 
being assumed to have taken place somewhere at 
the head of the Gulf of Suez, it necessarily follows 
that the scene of their wanderings must have been 
shifted into the regions lying immediately to the 
east of the gulf; hence Mount Sinai would na- 
turally have come to be placed somewhere within 
the mountainous country between that gulf and the 
Gulf of Akaba. 

It is, however, a most significant fact that not 
a single place recorded in the Old Testament in 

1 See Orig. Bibl., pp. 8, 13. 

2 Unhappily Dr. Beke's lamented death happened before he could 
complete his task. — Ed. 


connection with the Exodus of the Israelites can 
conclusively, or even satisfactorily, be pointed out 
as represented at the present day by a similar 
name within that peninsula, or as having been 
known to the Greeks or Romans under its ancient 
Biblical designation. 

The Pharan of Ptolemy 1 and of the early 
Christian writers, 2 the country of the Lapis Phara- 
nites of Pliny, 8 which is identified with the modern 
Feiran, in the vicinity of the copper and turquoise 
mines, is indeed deemed by Professor Lepsius, 4 
and also by Professor Palmer, 5 to be an evident 
reminiscence of the ancient Biblical name Paran. 
Yet the latter traveller does not attempt actually 
to identify Feiran with the Paran of the Bible, 6 
which he places in a totally different position ; 
for he says, " I concur with Wilton (the Negeb, 
p. 124) in believing that the Wilderness of 
Paran comprised the whole Desert of Et Tfh, and 
that Mount Paran was the southernmost portion 
of the mountain plateau in the north-east, at 
present inhabited by the 'Azdzimeh Arabs, and 
known as Jebel Magr&h." 7 

Geogr., lib. v. cap. 17, sect 3. 

St Jerome, Comment in Abucuc, lib. ii. c. 3, v. 3. 

Plin. Hist Nat, lib. xxxvii. 40. 

Lepsius's Letters, xxxiii. n. 6 Desert of the Exodus, p. 20. 

See Ebers's Durch Gosen zum Sinai, pp. 189-208. 

Palmer's Desert of the Exodus, p. 509. 


What " reminiscence," then, Pharan or Feiran, 
near Mount Serbal, can possibly give of Mount 
Magr&h, some hundred miles distant from it, must 
surely be "evident" to the mind of Professor 
Palmer alone. As for the German Professor, 
though he asserts that "the name of Firan, for- 
merly Pharan, is indeed evidently the same as 
Peiran," he makes the strange avowal that * " it is 
equally certain that this name has altered its mean- 
ing with reference to the locality ; " which asser- 
tion, as far as I can understand it, seems to signify 
that the classical and modern name does not corre- 
spond to the Biblical, which is a virtual denial of 
their identity, 2 represented by the two names. 

And Josephus, 8 as quoted by Lepsius, when speak- 
ing of Simon of Gerasa, says that he c overran the 
Accrabatene toparchy, and the places that reached 
as far as the Great Idumsea ; for he built a wall at 
a certain village called Nain, and made use of that 
as a fortress for his own party's security ; and at 
the valley called Paran he enlarged many of the 
caves, and many others he found ready for his 
purpose ; ' and Robinson, speaking of the Paran 
of Ptolemy, and that of Eusebius and Jerome, 

1 Lepsius's Letters, xxxiii. note. 

2 See Ebers's Durch Gosen zum Sinai, ut swp. 
8 Wars of the Jews, iv. 9, 4. 


remarks, "The valley of Pharan mentioned by 
Josephus is obviously a different place, somewhere in 
the vicinity of the Dead Sea; perhaps connected with 
the mountain and Desert of Paran so often spoken 
of in the Old Testament, adjacent to Kadish." l 

As regards the most important spot in the history 
of the Exodus, Mount Sinai itself, it has to be 
remarked, that when the Jews, and after them 
the Christians of Egypt, began to consider and to 
investigate the topography of the regions which 
they connected with that great national event, 
namely, those contiguous to Egypt, they probably, 
in the first instance, indiscriminately applied the 
designation of Sinai or Horeb to the whole of the 
lofty range of the Black Mountains (Mekava "Opn) of 
the Greco-Pelusian geographer, Claudius Ptolemy ; 2 
which range might reasonably be regarded from 
a distance as a single mountain-mass, culminating 
in the peak of the Um Shaumer, with an elevation 
of 8449 feet above the sea. 8 

1 See Numb. liii. 26. Biblical Researches, i. 593. 

1 Qeogr., lib. v. cap. 17, sect 3. 

3 According to the Ordnance Survey of the peninsula, Jebel 
Katarina has an elevation of 8536 feet, or 87 feet more than Um 
Shaumer ; but as it stands somewhat farther towards the east, and 
thus out of the direct line of the chain, it loses in appearance some 
of its height. But both are surpassed by Jebel Zebir, which is the 
highest peak in the peninsula, reaching a height of 8551 feet See 
Account of the Survey, Pt. 1, App. 1 1, Tables I., II. 


But it would not have been long, especially 
after the persecution of the professors of the new 
faith had caused them to flee for safety into the 
desert, before some one of the mountain-peaks 
would have been singled out as being specifically 
that on which the Law was delivered to Moses 
in the sight of the children of Israel. "And be 
ready against the third day ; for the third day 
the Lord will come down in the sight of all the 
people upon Mount Sinai. And Moses brought 
forth the people out of the camp to meet with 
God ; and they stood at the nether part of the 
mount And Mount Sinai was altogether on a 
smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in 
fire ; and the smoke thereof ascended as the 
smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked 
greatly" (Exod. xix. n, 17, 18). It is, there- 
fore, quite natural that Jebel Serbal should have 
been originally identified by the Coptic, or 
Egyptian Christians, with the Mountain of the 
Law: for it is the first lofty mountain, being 
6734 feet high, that the fugitives would fall in 
with on their way out of Egypt : it is an isolated 
peak, and in a superficial manner it readily answers 
to the general requirements of the Scripture nar- 
rative. It even appears to have been a "high 


place " of the native Arab tribes, who made 
pilgrimages to it, and offered sacrifices on it, 
before the Christian hermits applied it to their 
own religious uses, and built upon it what must 
be regarded as the oldest convent within the 

It was the traveller Burckhardt who first sug- 
gested the priority of Jebel Serbal, and his 
reasoning on the subject is most cogent, if not 
absolutely conclusive. His words are i 1 "It will be 
recollected that no inscriptions are found either on 
the Mountain of Moses [he refers to Jebel Musa, 
the present traditional Mount Sinai] or on Mount 
St. Catherine ; and that those which are found in 
the Ledja Valley at the foot of Djebel Katerin, 
are not to be traced above the rock, from which 
the water is said to have issued, and appear only 
to be the work of pilgrims, who visited that rock. 
From these circumstances, I am persuaded that 
Mount Serbal was at one period the chief place 
of pilgrimage in the peninsula: and that it was 
then considered the mountain where Moses received 
the tables of the law ; though I am equally con- 
vinced, from a perusal of the Scriptures, that the 

1 Burckhardt' 8 Travels in Syria, &c. f p. 609, 4to edit, 1822. See 
also Lepsius's Letters, p. 533, Horner's trans., 1853. 


Israelites encamped in the Upper Sinai, and that 
either Djebel Mousa or Mount St. Catherine is the 
real Horeb. It is not at all impossible that the 
proximity of Serbal to Egypt may at one period 
have caused that mountain to be the Horeb of the 
pilgrims, and that the establishment of the con- 
vent in its present situation, which was probably 
chosen from motives of security, may have led to 
the transferring of that honour to Djebel Mousa. 
At present, neither the monks of Mount Sinai nor 
those of Cairo consider Mount Serbal as the scene 
of any of the events of sacred history : nor have 
the Bedouins any tradition among them respecting 
it ; but it is possible that if the Byzantine writers 
were thoroughly examined, some mention might 
be found of this mountain, which I believe was 
never before visited by any European traveller." 

Subsequent investigations have established the 
sagacity and general correctness of the German 
traveller's remarks. The fact that the so-called 
Sinaitic Inscriptions are plentiful on and about 
Jebel Serbal, whilst none, or scarcely any, are found 
on Jebel Musa or Jebel Katharina, demonstrates 
that the first -named mountain was the original 
object of religious pilgrimages ; and the fact that 
these inscriptions were principally, if not entirely, 


the work of native heathen pilgrims, who came 
there to offer sacrifices and thank-offerings, 1 just 
as the Mohammedan Beduins do on the self-same 
mountain at the present day, and as they do on 
Jebel Bdghir, or Jebel e' Ntir (Mountain of Light), 
which I have lately discovered, and which I re- 
gard as the true Mount Sinai, must undoubtedly 
be understood to indicate that Serbal was at 
an early period the centre of an ancient Pagan 
worship ; though there is nothing in the character 
of any of those inscriptions, as now deciphered, to 
connect them in any way with the age of the 
Exodus, or any period at all approaching it. On 
the contrary, the general opinion now is that not 
any of the inscriptions are older than the first 
centuries of the Christian era, and that they bear 
no reference to any earlier historical period. 

The actual claim of Jebel Serbal to be the 
true Mount Sinai was first advanced by Professor 
Lepsius in the year 1845, and advocated with 
much learning in his " Letters from Egypt, 
Ethiopia, and the Peninsfria of Sinai," published 
in Germany in 1852, and in an English translation 
in 1853. It has since been ably maintained by 
several travellers and scholars, both in England 

1 See Reise in Abyssinien, von Ed. Riippell, voL i. p. 127. 


and on the Continent, the latest of them being 
Dr. Ebers, in his work, " Durch Gosen zum Sinai," 
published at Leipzig in 1872. 

It is scarcely necessary to explain that the 
arguments of Lepsius and his followers in proof 
of the superior claim of Jebel Serbal over Jebel 
Musa are based on the gratuitous assumption 
that one of the two must necessarily be the true 
Mount Sinai. As, however, I think I shall be 
able to show the claim of the one mountain has 
no better foundation than that of the other, 
it would be altogether beside my purpose to dis- 
cuss their respective merits. All that concerns 
me is the fact, which those scholars have suffi- 
ciently established, that Jebel Serbal was deemed 
to be Mount Sinai before that honour was acquired 
by Jebel Musa. 

The ancient convent in Wady Sigillfyeh, now in 
ruins, which was seen by Burckhardt, and has 
recently been visited by Professor Palmer and 
my friend Major Wilson, points to a time when 
that on Jebel Musa had not come into existence : 
and there is every reason for concurring in the 
suggestion of the German traveller, that the 
proximity of Serbal to Egypt, which in the first 
instance caused that mountain to be regarded as 


the Sinai of the pilgrims, and led to the build- 
ing of the convent, became at a later period a 
cause of insecurity and peril to the monks who 
inhabited it; and in consequence to have led to 
the founding of the convent which was erected 
on the more secluded Jebel Musa, as a place of 
greater security: — in like manner as the scene of 
St. Paul's conversion, which was on the highroad 
from Jerusalem to Damascus, and therefore neces- 
sarily on the south-west of the latter city, has, — 
for the convenience of pilgrims,— been shifted 
to the neighbourhood of the Latin Convent, on 
the east side of Damascus; 1 or as in the more 
glaring case of the scene of the Annunciation, the 
Holy House having been bodily transported from 
Nazareth first into Dalmatia, and thence again to 

It may even be, that the transfer of Sinai, or 
Horeb, from Jebel Serbal to Jebel Musa was not 
made directly, but through the intervention of 
Jebel Katarina, which mountain, as is shown by 
the " Sinaitic " inscriptions found by Burckhardt 
in the Ledja valley at its foot, was at some time 
or other certainly regarded as the true Mountain 

1 See Mrs. Beke's work, "Jacob's Flight," p. 88, London, Long- 
mans & Co., 1865. 


of the Law, as it is still deemed to be by the 
traveller Rlippell. 1 Indeed its superior elevation 
over all the other mountain peaks (except that 
of Jebel Zebir) within the peninsula, namely, 8536 
feet (Burckhardt seems to favour Jebel Katarina), 
against Jebel Serbal, 6734 feet, and Jebel Musa, 
7363 feet; even the giant Um Shaumer, 8449 
feet, might be regarded as favouring its claim 
to be Josephus s u highest mountain within the 
region wherein it is situate," did but other cir- 
cumstances combine to countenance such a claim. 

In the consideration of this shifting from time 
to time of the name Sinai or Horeb from one 
mountain peak to another within the peninsula, 
the especial point to be borne in mind is the 
order of succession, and this clearly appears to 
be — first, Serbal; secondly, Jebel Katarina; thirdly, 
Jebel Musa ; and now, of late years, Ras Sufs&feh. 
Such being the case, it is manifest that everything 
like an appeal to tradition must be cast to the 
winds, except perhaps in the case of Jebel Serbal 
alone, which mountain has at all events the special 
and exclusive merit of having been deemed to be 
the Mountain of God before the upstart Jebel Musa 
was even thought of as such. 

1 Riippeirs Reise in Abyssinien, vol. i. p. 120. 

PHARAN. 1 7 

Of the fact that, in the first ages of the Christian 
era, Jebel Serbal, and not Jebel Musa, was con- 
sidered to be Mount Sinai, the particulars extracted 
from the works of early Greek ecclesiastical writers 
now about to be related will leave no room for 

It must be premised that Ptolemy, when de- 
scribing the peninsula between the Heroopolitan 
and Elanitic gulfs (the gulfs of Suez and Akaba, 
in which the city of Pharan was situate), mentions 
among the tribes dwelling to the westward of the 
Black Mountains (the Sinaitic range) towards Egypt, 
the Saracens {Sapcuerjvoi), the Pharanites 1 (Qapavlrat) , 
and the Raithenoi (PaWrjvoi), the last named being 
towards the mountains of Arabia Felix. 

There is great difficulty in reconciling the details 
of Ptolemy's topography of this region with our 
present precise knowledge of it, but sufficient is 
known to enable us to identify the city of Pharan 
with the modern Feiran, near Jebel Serbal, where 
the ruins of the ancient city still exist — a view of 
them being given by Laborde in his work, " Voyage 
de TArabie Pdtr^e," 2 — these ruins being in the neigh- 
bourhood of the ancient copper mines, whence the 

1 Geogr., vi. 7, 21, v. 17, 3. 

* Voyage de l'Arabie Pltree, p. 69, Paris, 1830. 



Egyptians obtained the Lapis Pharanites or tur- 
quoise; whilst Ptolemy's Raithenoi must be the 
inhabitants of the district containing the modern 
town of Tor, called 'PcuOov by the Greek Christians, 
both in ancient and modern times. The name 
of Saracens, though now the appellation of the 
Arabian invaders of the Western world generally 
(as will next be shown), was limited in the early 
ages to the tribes dwelling at, or in the vicinity of 

As early as a.d. 250, Dionysius of Alexandria 
speaks of the monasteries of Sinai as being the 
refuge of Egyptian Christians in times of perse- 
cution, where they were often attacked and made 
slaves by the Saracens or Arabs. 1 

The first hermit of whom we have any specific 
knowledge is Sylvanus, who lived about a.d. 365, 
and is called by Tillemont, Abbot of Mount Sinai. 

But the great agent in Christianising the coun- 

1 See Gallandii Bibliotheca Vet Patrum, vol. iii. p. 516. 

Dionysius's text makes no definite mention of monasteries — he 
seems to intimate that many Christians perished in the mountain 
wilds, while others were carried off by Arabs and put to ransom. 

Galland's note on els rb Apdpiop 6pos: — " Moris est ita dictus, cujus 
meminit Herodotus, quern Ptolemasus et alii Troicum vocant Male 
ergo Christophorsonus montein Arabia vertit Paullo post Arabicus 
dicitur (rb Apapucbv 6pos), ob vicinitatem Arabum ita nominatus." 

The passage occurs in a letter to Fabius, Bishop of Antioch, 
apud Euseb. Hist Eccl., lib. vL cap. 41, 42, and 44- — Ed. 

NIC ON. 19 

tries south of Palestine, and in introducing the 
monastic life into these regions, was Hilarion, 1 a 
disciple of St. Anthony, who was born a.d. 291, 
at Thabatha, near Gaza, and died a.d. 371, two 
years before the slaughter of Raitha, hereafter to 
be related. 

In the time of the Emperor Julian (360-3) 
the deserts of Sinai were beginning to teem with 
ascetics, whom the example of Hilarion had at- 
tracted to the monastic life. Among these ascetics 
was Nicon, who is supposed to be the same as 
is honoured by the Greeks on the 26th Novem- 
ber, and of whom the following story is told by 
Nilus, who, like Nicon, is a saint of the Greek 
calendar : — Nicon was dwelling on Mount Sinai, 
when the seducer of the daughter of an inhabitant 
of Pharan persuaded her to accuse that venerable 
man of the crime. On this the father of the girl 
went after Nicon to kill him ; but on his raising 
his sword in the act of striking him, his hand 
became withered. Not deterred by this miracle, 
the father accused the saint before the priests of 
Pharan, who caused him to be beaten, and would 
have banished him from the country, but that he 

1 See his life written by Jerome, Vita S. Hilarionis, Hieronymi 
Opera, torn. ii. p. 30, Patrolog. Curous, Migne, Paris, 1849. 


asked permission to remain in order to do penance. 
For three years he remained excommunicated, no 
one being allowed to speak to him; and during 
that period he came every Sunday to the church 
with the other penitents to beseech the faithful 
to pray for him. At length it pleased God to 
make known Nicon's innocence; the true seducer 
of the girl, possessed by the devil, openly confessed 
before the whole congregation his crime and his 
calumny. On this all the inhabitants of the place 
went to demand pardon of the saint, who readily 
granted it, but refused to remain longer among 
them, inasmuch as not a single one of them had 
shown any charity or compassion for him. 

Ammonius relates the following anecdote : l — 
"A vessel from Aila was stranded on the shores 
of the Avalitic gulf (the modern Gulf of Zeila). 
The people of this district (whom the historian 
designates by the convenient but much- abused 
term Blemmyes) seized on the vessel, and (being 
accustomed to navigation), resolved to use it in 
a piratical excursion against the wealthy city of 
Clysma. They sailed up the Arabian Gulf (or 
Red Sea), and on entering into the Heroopolitan 
Gulf, were driven on the eastern shore, instead 

1 See Ammonius, Tillemont, vii. 576, 577. 


of the Egyptian, to which their voyage tended. 
They landed at Ratha (the modern Tor), and after 
the massacre of part of the inhabitants, carried 
away the rest as captives. Being driven a second 
time on the coast of Ratha, they murdered their 
remaining captives, but were fortunately over- 
taken by Obedian before they could resume their 
voyage. The king having heard of their former 
landing [had] hastened to Eatha at the head of 
a small and select body of troops, and falling upon 
the African savages, slaughtered them to a man." 
The date of this occurrence is stated to be the 
year 373 of the Christian era. 

In the curious work entitled, " Narrative of the 
Monastic Monk Nilus," touching the massacre of 
the monks on Mount Sinai, 1 an account is given 
of an occurrence similar to that recorded by 
Ammonius. The writer describes how he and 
his son Theodulus were living as anchorites with 
others on Mount Sinai. The position of their 
residence was on the mountain itself, and lower 
down dwelt other hermits at the spot called " the 
Bush;" it being supposed to be that at which 
Moses was first addressed by the Almighty. 2 

1 Narrative of the Monastic Monk Nilus, Paris, 1639, Narratio. iv. 

* Exod. iii. 4. 


Nilus and his son were in the habit of visiting 
these other hermits, and one day when they were 
supping with them, the priest of ,the place, named 
likewise Theodulus, speaking with more than his 
usual kindness, said, " How do we know whether 
we shall ever sup together again before we die ? " 
The result showed the pertinency of what he thus 
said ; for early on the morrow, when hardly the 
morning hymns had been sung, they found them- 
selves attacked by a band of Saracens, who killed 
the priest Theodulus, and bis companion Paul, an 
old man, with a boy named John who waited on 
them, and then allowed all the other men to 
escape, but retained the boys. Those who were 
liberated hastened to gain the summit of the 
mountain, which the Saracens did not dare to 
approach, under the persuasion that the Majesty 
of God resided there, it being there that He 
appeared to the Israelites, Nilus was at first 
unwilling to accept his liberty whilst his son was 
kept a prisoner, but at the solicitation of the latter, 
he also escaped to the top of the mountain, 
whence he had the grief of seeing his son carried 
away by his captors, who went on pillaging other 
places and killing a great number of other persons. 
Nilus and the others who had fled to the top of 

NILUS. 2 3 

the mountain came down from it in the evening 
to bury the bodies of their slaughtered brethren. 
Life had not quite left the priest Theodulus, who, 
before breathing his last, had strength to exhort 
them to worship God without fear, and to give them 
the kiss of peace. After having buried them, they 
reached the city of Pharan before the morrow. 1 

In pagp 87 of the original work, Nilus speaks 
of the Senate of that city, which was also in his 
time the seat of a bishop. [But how can this be 
if Moses was the first bishop ?] Nilus has usually 
been supposed to have lived some time during the 
fifth century, and the slaughter of the monks on 
Mount Sinai related by Nilus has consequently 
been supposed to be a repetition of the event related 
by Ammonius. But there is no good reason for 
imagining it to be a different occurrence. 

In a.d. 372 or 373 the prince was Obedian, who 
died soon after, and was succeeded by his wife, 
Ma via or Moawiyah, who, ten years after Julian had 
carried the Roman arms triumphantly beyond the 
frontier to the capital of Persia, — where, how- 
ever, he was slain in the moment of victory, — 
defeated the Roman forces in Phoenicia. Socrates 
relates that no sooner had the Emperor (Yalens) 

1 Tillemont, xir. 200-203. 


departed from Antiocb, than the Saracens, who 
had before been in alliance with the Romans, 
revolted from him, being led by Mavia, their 
Queen, whose husband (Obedian ?) was then dead. 
All the regions of the East, therefore, were at 
that time ravaged by the Saracens; but their 
fury was repressed by the interference of Divine 
Providence, in the manner I am about to relate. A 
person named Moses, a Saracen by birth, who led 
a monastic life in the desert,, became exceedingly 
eminent for his piety, faith, and miracles. Mavia, 
the Queen of the Saracens, was therefore desirous 
that this person should be consecrated bishop over 
her nation, and promised on this condition to 
terminate the war. The Roman generals consider- 
ing that a peace founded on such terms would be 
extremely advantageous, gave immediate directions 
for its ratification. Moses was accordingly seized, 
and brought from the desert to Alexandria, in 
order to his being initiated into the sacerdotal 
functions ; but, on his presentation for that pur- 
pose to Lucius, who at that time presided over the 
churches in that city, he refused to be ordained by 
him, protesting against it in these words:— "I 
account myself indeed unworthy of the sacred 
office ; but if the exigences of the state require my 


bearing it, it shall not be by Lucius laying his 
hand upon me, for it has been filled with blood " 
Moses having expressed himself in this manner, 
was taken by his friends to the mountains, that he 
might receive ordination from the bishops who 
lived in exile there. His consecration terminated 
the Saracenic war ; and so scrupulously did Mavia 
observe the peace thus entered into with the 
Romans, that she gave her daughter in marriage 
to Victor, the commander in chief of the Eoman 
army. 1 

The same story is related by Theodoret sub- 
stantially in slightly different terms. His words 
are : — " At this period the tribe of Ishmaelites 
ravaged the provinces situated on the frontier of 
the empire. They were led by Mavia, who, not- 
withstanding her sex, possessed masculine intre- 
pidity. After several engagements she made peace 
with the Romans, and having received the light 
of the knowledge of God, she stipulated that a 
certain man, named Moses, who dwelt on the 
borders of Egypt and Palestine, might be ordained 
bishop of her nation. Valens acceded to her 
request, and desired that the holy man should be 
conveyed to Alexandria, and that he should there 

1 Socrates, Eccl. Hist., book iv. chap. 36. 


receive the holy rite of ordination, for this city was 
nearer her place of residence than any other. After 
his arrival at Alexandria, when he found Lucius 
desired to lay hands upon him for the purpose of 
ordination, he said, 'I account myself indeed 
unworthy of the sacred office ; but if the exigences 
of the state require my bearing it, it shall not be 
by Lucius laying his hand upon me, for it has been 
filled with blood/ Lucius was deeply incensed, 
and wished to put him to death ; but not daring 
to renew a war which had been terminated, he 
ordered him to be conveyed to the other bishops, 
by whom he desired to be ordained. After having 
received, in addition to his fervent faith, the archi- 
episcopal dignity, he, by his apostolic doctrines, 
and by the working of miracles, led many to the 
knowledge of the truth." x 

It could not, however, have been till some 
considerable time after the death of this saintly 
bishop Moses that he became confounded (whether 
intentionally or through ignorance is not at all 
material), with the great Lawgiver of the Israelites, 
so as to allow the mountain called after the for- 
mer to become " traditionally " associated with the 
latter. But when once the ball was set rolling, 

1 Theod., Eccl. Hist., book iv. chap. 23. 







the Greek ecclesiastics were at no loss in finding 
materials to increase its bulk, till at length almost 
the whole Christian world has been brought to 
look on Jebel Musa — the Mountain of (Bishop) 
Moses — as the veritable Mount Sinai. 

From the foregoing anecdotes, the general truth 
of which cannot reasonably be questioned, it is 
manifest that, in the time of Nicon, Nilus, and 
Ammonius, Mount Sinai was considered to be in 
the immediate vicinity of Pharan. Therefore it 
could have been no other than Jebel Serbal, which 
is distant only about five miles from Wady Feiran. 
To suppose the incidents related could have referred 
to Jebel Musa, which lies more than twenty miles 
in a direct line from that spot, would render the 
whole story inconsistent, and consequently impos- 
sible. That Jebel Serbal continued to be regarded 
as the true Mount Sinai till the beginning of the 
sixth century is proved by the statement of the 
Coptic monk Cosmas Indicopleustes, who then 
visited the Holy Mountain. The testimony of this 
traveller is too precise and explicit to be open to 
any question. He relates that, landing at Raithu 
(PaiBov), (the town of Ptolemy's 'PaWrjvol, and the 
modern Tor), which was two days' journey from 
Sinai, he went along the Wady Hebron to Rephidim, 


which is now called Pharan, where he was at the 
termination of his Sinaitic journey. From this 
spot, he says, Moses went with the elders " unto 
Horeb, which is in the Sinaic (Mountain), the same 
being about six thousand paces (six miles) from 
Paran. " * And in a subsequent passage he distinctly 
affirms that he journeyed on foot to all these 

places (&9 avrbs eyo» irefyvaa^ rov$ tottovs fiapTvpa>, 

" as I myself, having visited these places on foot, 
bear witness "). 2 And it was, as he journeyed on 
foot, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, that he 
saw the inscriptions which he supposed to have 
been written by the children of Israel, and which, 
in consequence of this supposition, are known 
as the Sinaitic Inscriptions. Now, although the 
distance of two days' journey from Tor corresponds 
equally well both to Jebel Musa and to Jebel 
Serbal, the distance to Pharan of six thousand 
paces, and the presence of the Sinaitic inscriptions, 
can apply to the latter mountain alone. So far, 
all is clearly in favour of Jebel Serbal. 

But on the other hand, it appears not less clear 
from the Greek writer Procopius, who was the 

1 Topograph. Christ., lib. v. sect. 196, apud Migne, Patrol og. 
Cursus, vol. lxxxviii., Series Graeca. 
* Ut supra, lib. v. sect. 205. 


contemporary of the last-named writer, Cosmas, 
that Jebel Musa had at that time begun to be 
regarded as the true Mount Sinai. He, Procopius, 
says that in the third Palestine, which was formerly 
called Arabia, is a barren mountain named Sinai, 
which is as if it were suspended over the Red 
Sea. This mountain was inhabited by monks, 
who, living in pious solitude and in the medi- 
tation of death, and having no wants in this 
world, required nothing more ; so that all the 
Emperor Justinian could do for them was to build 
them a church, which he dedicated to the Mother 
of God. This church, says Procopius, 1 was not 
erected on the summit of the mountain, where 
Moses received the Law, but far below ; because, 
no one could pass the night on the summit on 
account of the noises heard there, which caused 
them to fear and tremble : in this agreeing with 
the reports of Ammonius and Nilus, which them- 
selves are in accordance with the tradition recorded 
by the Jewish historian Josephus. Procopius adds, 
that Justinian also caused a very strong castle to 
be built at the foot of the mountain, in which 
he placed a sufficient garrison, in order to prevent 

1 Procop. de jEdificiis, y. 8, ap. Corpus Script Hist Byzant, ecL 


the inroads into Palestine of the barbarian Saracens 
who inhabited these desert regions. 

The erection of this castle by Justinian had 
evidently some connection with the treaty which 
that Emperor made with the prince of the Saracens, 
called by Procopius, 1 Abocharagos, who, submitting 
himself to the Emperor, surrendered his country to 
him, and was in return appointed by him Governor 
(Phy larch) of the Saracens of Palestine; an arrange- 
ment which, in the estimation of the historian, 
gave the Emperor nothing but a nominal sove- 
reignty. If this Saracen prince, Abocharabos, was 
a successor of Obedian and Mavia, whose seat of 
government was at Pharan, it might almost be 
conjectured that the Mount Sinai overhanging the 
Red Sea, on which the Emperor built the church 
dedicated to the Mother of God, and at the foot of 
which he erected a fortress, might still have been 
Jebel Serbal, and not Jebel Musa. But without 
insisting on this, it will be sufficient to say that 
the Church of the Virgin Mother of God, described 
by Procopius as being some way down the moun- 
tain's side, cannot have stood on the site of the pre- 
sent Convent of the Transfiguration on Jebel Musa, 
but must rather be represented by the existing 

1 Procop. de Bello Persicos, L 19, sect. 3. 


Chapel of the Virgin, 1 on Jebel Serbal, which stands 
at some distance above the convent, whilst the 
convent itself represents Justinian's castle at the 
foot of the mountain. The " tradition " of the 
monks of the convent, that the Chapel of the 
Virgin is of later date, is manifestly only a part 
of the general system of fraud and imposture in 
which the whole history of the convent is involved. 
After the lapse of so many ages, it may be diffi- 
cult, if not impossible, to determine the actual 
circumstances under which Jebel Musa came to 
supersede Jebel Serbal as Mount Sinai. But 
the change may well have been caused, as Hitter 
suggests, by party views and jealousy between 
the monks of Constantinople and Alexandria. It 
is certainly remarkable that the rival claims of 
the two mountains should have been in existence 
at the same moment ; those of Jebel Serbal being 
evidenced by the Coptic monk, Cosmas Indico- 
pleustes, and those of Jebel Musa by the Greek 
historian, Procopius, both writing at the begin- 
ning of the sixth century. But the fact that the 
monks of the convent on the former mountain were 
Egyptians, or Copts, and that those on Jebel Musa 
were orthodox Greeks, would sufficiently explain 

1 See Robinson's Biblical Researches, vol. i. pp. 97, 102, 104. 


not only the rivalry between the two, but the 
eventual victory of the latter. It is quite certain 
that the Greek monks would not have been at 
all scrupulous as to the means they employed to 
gain the victory over their heterodox rivals. The 
deliberate fraud and falsehood of the Greek clergy, 
from the earliest ages of Christianity, are matters 
of history. In my work, " Jesus the Messiah," * 
I have adduced some striking examples of this, to 
which I will refer my readers. 

There can be no question as to the fact that 
Pharan, near Mount Serbal, was the first Christian 
centre of the Peninsula, and that the church 
founded by the Emperor Justinian, 2 on Jebel Musa, 
was dependent on the Bishop of Pharan, and so 
continued during several centuries, which would 
hardly have been the case had Jebel Musa, and not 
Jebel Serbal, been from the commencement deemed 
to be Mount Sinai. 

The two inscriptions on the wall of the convent 
on Jebel Musa afford another instance of Greek 
fraud and imposture. These inscriptions, which 
are in Greek and Arabic, assert that this convent 
was built by the Emperor Justinian in the 527th 
year of the Christian era. But, according to my 

1 Jesus the Messiah, chaps, iii., iv., London, Triibner & Co., 1872. 
* ProcopiuVs Life of Justinian, cap. ii. sect. 1. 


erudite friend, Dr. Wetzstein, formerly Prussian 
Consul at Damascus, the written characters of the 
Arabic inscription indicate that it could not have 
existed before the year 550 of the Hegira (a.d. 
1 1 72), and no earlier date can be attributed to the 
corresponding Greek inscription ; so that the autho- 
rity of these fabricated records is worthless. There 
seems to be a third inscription of older date, which 
Lepsius could not copy (Lepsius's Letters, p. 553). 

Considering the views I entertain respecting the 
real position of the Mountain of the Law, it may 
perhaps be deemed to have been a work of super- 
erogation on my part to go into these particu- 
lars concerning Jebel Musa, the traditional Mount 
Sinai, and the convent thereon; but I do so in 
order to demonstrate to the general reader the 
worthlessness of the monkish traditions connected 
with the same. 

The intrinsic claims of Jebel Musa to be the 
Mountain of the Law are as worthless as its tradi- 
tional ones. So far from being the highest moun- 
tain, as Josephus styles it, Jebel Musa is invisible 
from every quarter; 1 it is almost concealed and 
buried; it is neither distinguished by height, 

1 Robinson, voL i. pp. 103-106. Bartlett, Forty Days in the 
Desert, p. 57. Desert of the Exodus, p. 112. 



form, position, or any other peculiarity. Professor 
Palmer admits, that " the view from the summit 
[of Jebel Musa] does not embrace so comprehen- 
sive a prospect of the Peninsula as that from the 
more commanding peaks of Eatarina or Serbal ; " * 
and it is absolutely destitute of verdure, cultivation, 
running streams, and even of abundant springs, 
and with no resources whatsoever. In fact, it is 
physically impossible for the children of Israel to 
have remained long encamped there. 

So poor indeed are the pretensions of the monkish 
Jebel Musa to be Mount Sinai, that no scientific 
and intelligent traveller who has visited the spot, 
and who is not enslaved by the local " traditions," 
but dares to think for himself, can avoid seeking 
for some other mountain-peak in preference to 
what he feels to be an impostor ; Lepsius choosing 
Jebel Serbal ; Kiippell, Jebel Katarine ; and more 
recently, Dr. Edward Robinson 2 taking on himself 
to substitute for it the neighbouring more northerly 
peak of Ras Sufs&feh. 

Even the members of the recent Ordnance Sur- 
vey of the Peninsula, who went out to perform the 
task they have so ably accomplished with the pre- 

1 Desert of the Exodus, p. 108, and Exod. xix. 16-18. 
* Robinson's Biblical Researches, vol. i. pp. 106, 107. 


conceived idea that Jebel Musa must be the true 
Sinai, have found themselves constrained to aban- 
don it in favour of Eas Sufsafeh. 

Conscious, however, of the danger of relinquish- 
ing the " traditional " identification of Jebel Musa 
with the Sinai of Scripture, they have found it 
necessary to give to the former name an extension 
which in nowise belongs to it, which never existed 
before their time, and cannot honestly be main- 
tained. Professor Palmer, in his work " The Desert 
of the Exodus," p. 1 1 r, thus states the case in 
what I cannot but regard as a most disingenuous 
manner. "Before entering upon the question of 
the exact scene of the delivery of the Law " (sayu 
he), "it will be necessary for me to explain what is 
meant by the summit of Sinai. Jebel Musa is not a 
single peak, but a huge mountain block, about two 
miles in length, and one mile in breadth, with a 
narrow valley on either side, a somewhat larger 
one at the so.uth-eastern extremity, and a spacious 
plain at the north-eastern end. A well-watered 
basin or plateau occupies the centre, and this is 
surrounded by numerous peaks, of which two only, 
those at the extremities, are prominent in height 
or position." And the writer of a letter in the 
" Times" of April the 3d, 1874, under the signature 


of " One who has been there p l (seemingly one of 
the surveying party), asserts in like manner, that 
Kas Sufs&feh is " simply one of the buttresses of 
the great mountain known as a whole as Jebel 
Musa ; " and he goes on to say, that " any one 
who has stood on that wondrous cliff, as I have, 
and looked down on the great plain of Er R&hah, 
stretched out at his feet, and rising gradually, as 
it recedes from the base, like the pit of a theatre, 
cannot fail, with the Bible narrative in his hands, 
to recognise it as the undoubted spot where the 
Israelitish encampment stood." 

To this, however, it has to be categorically re- 
plied, that every one who has been on the spot or 
at all studied the subject knows perfectly well that 
it is not the fact that 6i Jebel Musa is not a single 
peak, but a large mountain block," <fcc. ; or that Ras 
Sufs&feh is " simply one of the buttresses of the 
great mountain known, as a whole, as Jebel Musa ; " 
for that there does not exist, and never did exist, 
any great " mountain block " bearing the name 
of Jebel Musa, which name belongs to the separate 
peak at the southern end of the mountain block 
known as the monkish Sinai, and to that peak 
alone, on and about which the whole of the tra- 

1 The Times, 3d April 1874. 


ditional identifications of the delivery of the Law 
are congregated ; l and the Ordnance Survey Map 
shows marked the two separate and distinct peaks 
of Jebel Musa with an elevation of 7363 feet, and 
Ras Sufs&feh with an elevation of 6541 feet; 2 
the former of those peaks being considered to be 
Mount Sinai, and the latter Mount Horeb; and, 
further, in the map and sections in Professor 
Palmer's work, just referred to, 8 the distinction 
between the two peaks is plainly shown, though 
it is ingeniously contrived to make the general 
designation of Mount Sinai comprehend the two, 
and even to represent the name " Jebel Musa " 
as applicable to both. 

Seeing then the utter uncertainty of the whole 
question of the position of Mount Sinai, which has, 
if possible, been increased rather than lessened by 
the labours of the Ordnance Surveyors, however 
valuable the results of those labours must be in 
other respects, it appears to me, as I have already 
declared in the "Times" of March 30, 1874, that 
" the only issue out of the many difficulties which 
have perplexed earnest but anxious minds," and 
the only sure way to " solve questions that have 

1 Exod. xix., xx. 

* See Dr. Beke's letter in the Times of April 9, 1 874. 

3 Desert of the Exodus. 


thrown discredit on the truth of a portion of the 
Bible history," the confirmation of which was in 
fact the main object of the Ordnance Survey, 1 is 
to reopen the whole question, and to consider 
impartially and reasonably the probable position 
of the Mountain of the Law upon the basis of my 
theory that the Mitzraim of the Bible is not the 
"Egypt" of Profane History; and that the Yam 
Suf or Red Sea, through which the Israelites passed 
in their Exodus, is the same " Red Sea in the Land 
of Edom " 2 that was navigated by the Israelitish 
and Tyrean fleets five centuries later — namely, the 
Gulf of Akaba, whence I have just returned, — 
the Gulf of Suez having been as little known to 
Moses as it was to Solomon and Hiram. 

Before entering upon the discussion of my 
theory, or upon the narrative of the journey 
which I have undertaken for the purpose of estab- 
lishing its correctness ; it is expedient that I should 
state, as a most important preliminary, what I 
conceive to be a paramount and fatal objection 
to the identification either wholly or in part of 
the Peninsula of Pharan, between the gulfs of 
Suez and Akaba, with the wilderness of the 

1 See Athenaeum, Sept. 26, 1868. * 1 Kings ix. 26. 


According to the vulgar interpretation of the 
Scripture history, we are called on to believe that 
Moses, when he fled from the face of Pharaoh, took 
refuge within a district in which there was a 
colony of Egyptians, with copper mines, which, 
as the hieroglyphics then show, were worked by 
them, not merely before, but actually at the time 
of the Exodus ; and further, that the Israelites, 
who were constantly in a state of insubordination, 
and even rebellion, and anxiously longing to re- 
turn into Mitzraim (" Egypt "), were, with a view 
to their liberation from the house of bondage, 
deliberately led by their inspired legislator into 
the cul-de-sac between the two gulfs, where they 
were almost within sight of Egypt, where they 
must have come in contact with the Egyptian 
colonists and miners, and whence they would at 
any time have had not the slightest difficulty in 
returning to that country. 

Professor Palmer, whilst forced to admit that 
" it is most improbable that Moses, well versed 
as he was in all the ' learning of the Egyptians/ 
and acquainted with all the details of their political 
system, would have led the hosts of Israel into 
direct contact with those enemies from whom they 


were fleeing," l seeks to get over the difficulty by 
represeiiting it as merely a question of whether 
or not the Israelites were conducted by their in- 
spired leader directly past the very spots at Sardbit 
el KMdim, at Wady Maghdrah, and Wady Nasb, 
where the copper and turquoise mines were being 
worked ; and he argues, that " as we read in the 
sacred narrative of no collision with their late task- 
masters after the overthrow of Pharaoh and his 
hosts in the Red Sea, we may fairly conclude that 
they did not pass by any of those roads, which 
must inevitably have brought them into the very 
midst of a large Egyptian military settlement." 2 
And having thus slurred over this difficulty, he 
complacently remarks, " This, therefore, consider- 
ably narrows the question by disposing of at least 
two of the principal routes by which the Israelites 
could have approached Mount Sinai." 3 

But let the line of march of the Israelites be 
assumed to be such as not to lead to any actual 
" collision with their late taskmasters," it could 
not avoid being within fearful proximity to some 
of the Egyptian settlements, and even a dStour 
of several miles would not have allowed them to 

1 Desert of the Exodus, p. 232. 2 Ibid. 3 Ibid. 

ELIM. 41 

pass unobserved the outposts, except on Professor 
Palmers monstrous supposition that all the Israel- 
itish host fell in with was some "little knot of 
worshippers who mayhap were bowing down to 
Apis while the great pilgrim Father passed." 1 
How long these worshippers had to continue bowed 
down whilst the host of the Israelites passed by 
them, is left to the imagination of the reader, who 
is further called on to believe that their inspired 
leader thereby fancied himself and the people 
hidden from the view of the Egyptian soldiery; 
even as the ostrich is said to fancy it conceals 
itself from the view of the hunter by hiding its 
head in the bushes and leaving its whole body 
exposed. In the consideration of this, to me in- 
surmountable difficulty, it must always be borne 
in mind that the children of Israel remained some 
time encamped at Elim, 2 wherever it may please 
the traditionists to fix that place ; and that they 
did not reach the wilderness of Sin, between Elim 
and Sinai, till the fifteenth day of the second 
month, 8 that is, one month after the Exodus ; that 
it was yet a fortnight more ere they encamped 
before the Mount ; 4 that they remained stationary 

1 The Desert of the Exodus, p. 45. * Exod. xv. 27. 

8 Exod. xvi. 1. * Exod. xix. 1, 2. 


there till the twentieth day of the second month 
of the second year, 1 or close on a whole twelve- 
month ; and during the whole of this period, even 
Jebel Musa itself, the extremest point of the 
imagined sojourn of the Israelites within the 
Peninsula, is less than forty miles from the 
Egyptian mining settlements t Is this within the 
range of the wildest imagination ? 

Such ideas as these are so utterly preposterous, 
that it would be inconceivable how they could be 
entertained for a single instant, were it not for the 
daily instances we unhappily meet with of the blind- 
ness with which the " authority" of puerile tradition 
is deferred to, even by persons of great learning, 
and otherwise of the most enlarged minds. 

It is true that the objection here raised is, in 
its direct application, far more cogent in the case 
of Jebel Serbal than of Jebel Katarina, or Jebel 
Musa, inasmuch as the former is in the immediate 
vicinity of the copper mines, and also of " another 
spot in the Peninsula," which we are told was 
a position of great importance long before the 
time of Moses, and even in his days, but has lost 
it since that time, namely, the harbour of Abu 
Zelimeh, in the Gulf of Suez, within forty miles 

1 Numb. x. 1 1. 


of the summit of Jebel Serbal, by which spot, 
according to the Ordnance Survey party, the 
Israelites passed, inasmuch as they " were unani- 
mously of opinion that the Israelites must have 
taken the lower route by the sea-shore," 1 and than 
which spot, in the estimation of Professor Lepsius, 
" there was no more convenient landing-place to 
connect Egypt with those colonies " s of miners. 
Lepsius complacently records how the sandy plain 
on the western side of the mountain " disclosed 
to him across the sea a glorious prospect of the 
opposite coast, and the Egyptian chain of moun- 
tains bounding it," 3 — a most marvellous locality 
indeed for Sinai, at the foot of which the Israelites 
had to remain so long encamped ! 

But notwithstanding the force of the direct 
application of the objection here raised, it is even 
more fatal to the pretensions of both Jebel Kata- 
rina and Jebel Musa ; because such pretensions are 
subordinate to those of Jebel Serbal, and cannot 
Lave arisen until after the traditional repute of 
the latter, if not entirely extinct, was already on 
the wane, and therefore could the more easily be 
superseded by its younger, more pretentious, and 

1 Palmer's Desert of the Exodus, p. 238. 
* Lepsius'a Letters, p. 305. 9 Ibid., p. 296. 


(as the mendacious inscriptions on the convent 
wall and Eutychius's false statement testify) more 
unscrupulous rival. 

Having said this much, I feel myself dispensed 
from taking any further notice of all and singular 
the rival mountain summits within the region 
between the Gulf of Suez and Akaba, which has 
hitherto erroneously borne the name of the Penin- 
sula of Mount Sinai, but which I propose to call 
henceforth the Peninsula of Pharan — the country 
of the Lapis Pharanites (turquoise) of Pliny — 
and I give it the name it bore in the earliest ages 
of Christianity, as a standing protest and memorial 
against the identifications of any place within that 
Peninsula with the Paran of Scripture. 

( 45 ) 



Having proceeded to the consideration of the 
position of Mount Sinai, as a preliminary to the 
narrative of my journey for its discovery, it is 
requisite that I should say a few words on the 
subject of the situation of the Mitzraim of the 
Hebrew Scriptures, the land of bondage of the 
children of Israel, which, by the common assent of 
ages, is generally believed to be the Egypt of pro- 
fane history, but which I have, during upwards 
of forty years, maintained to be a distinct and 
separate kingdom lying to the east of the Isthmus 
of Suez, and thence extending to the land of the 
Philistines : a kingdom which, in the course of 
time, lost its independent existence, and was 
merged in its more powerful and more fortunate 
western neighbour, Egypt, whilst it became itself 
" utterly waste and desolate," in accordance with 

* Written by the late Dr. Beke, June 4, 1874. 


the prophecies that had foretold its destruction. 
And in immediate relation to and connection with 
this translocation of the Land of Bondage, I have 
in like manner maintained that the Yam Suf, or 
Red Sea, through which the Israelites passed on 
their Exodus from Mitzraim, was the Sea of Edom, 
or Gulf of Akaba, and not the Gulf of Suez, as is 
generally supposed. 

Paradoxical as these opinions appeared when 
they were first enunciated in " Origines Biblicae," 
and as they are still considered to be by the 
majority of scholars, there are, nevertheless, not a 
few persons whose judgment is not to be despised 
— and I am happy to say their number is daily 
increasing — who are convinced of the general cor- 
rectness of such opinions ; and I have further the 
satisfaction of knowing that not only my own 
researches, but likewise numerous facts bearing on 
the subject which have come to light since the 
publication of that work in 1834, have served to 
convince me that the opinions therein expressed 
are substantially true. 

It would be quite out of place here to enter upon 
any lengthened discussion of my theory of the non- 
identity of the Mitzraim of the Pentateuch with the 
Egypt of profane history. Still, it is essential that 


I should offer a few general remarks on the subject, 
in order to render intelligible to the general reader 
the views which I entertain respecting the position 
of Mount Sinai, and the history of the Exodus. 

For this purpose, discarding all traditions what- 
soever, we have to take the simple statements of 
Holy Scripture as our sole 9 absolute, and exclusive 
guide. And in the first place., we find it recorded 
in that inestimable canon of ethnology and geo- 
graphy handed down to us in the tenth chapter of 
Genesis, under the head of the children of Ham, 
that " Mitzraim begat Ludim . . . and Pathrusim 
and Casluhim (out of whom came Philistim) ; " l 
from which we learn that the Philistines were a 
race of cognate origin with the Mitzrites, or, in fact, 
a branch of the great family of mankind classed 
under the latter generic name. Hence it may also 
be inferred in a general way that these kindred 
people were also neighbours.* The contiguity may 
be more clearly shown when the migrations of the 
Patriarch Abraham and his immediate descendants 
are taken into consideration. The early migrations 
of the Patriarch himself have formed the subject 
of special study on my part, resulting in a journey 
into Syria, undertaken by my wife and myself in 

1 Gen. x. 13, 14. * Exod. xiii. 17. 


the year 1861-62; and in her work, "Jacob's 
Flight ; or, a Pilgrimage to Harran, and thence in 
the Patriarch's Footsteps into the Promised Land," 1 
it is conclusively demonstrated that when Terah 
and his family " went forth from Ur-Casdim (Ur 
of the Chaldees) to go into the land of Canaan, 
and they came unto Haran and dwelt there/' * the 
place they thus removed to was not the celebrated 
town of Harran in Mesopotamia, according to 
tradition, but a recently discovered village near 
Damascus bearing the same name, the error 
respecting its position having been caused by the 
erroneous identification of "Aram Naharaim," or 
Aram of the Two Rivers, that is to say, " Abana 
and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus," with Mesopo- 
tamia, the country between the two rivers Euphrates 
and Tigris ; the expression " Aram Naharaim " in 
Genesis xxiv. 10 being literally translated "Meso- 

From Harran, in Aram of the Two Rivers, near 
Damascus, Terah's son, Abraham, was called to go 
into the land of Canaan, whither he was accom- 
panied by his nephew Lot 8 Their first station was 
Shechem, 4 whence they removed to near Bethel, 

1 Published by Longmans & Co., London, 1865. 
1 Gen. xi. 31. * Gen. xii. 1-4. 4 Gen. xii. 6. 


where Abram " builded an altar to the Eternal," 1 
and seems to have made a lengthened stay, both 
before and after his journey into the South Country 
(Negeb), and Mitzraim, to which I have now to 
direct particular attention. 

We first read that from Bethel the Patriarch 
"journeyed, going on still towards the south." 
(The Hebrew says, "in going and journeying," 
which does not affect the sense.) " And there was 
a famine in the land ; and Abram went down into 
Mitzraim to sojourn there ; for the famine was 
grievous in the land." 8 Without dwelling on 
what occurred in that country, we may go on to 
the following chapter, wherein it is stated, that 
"Abram went up out of Mitzraim*. . . . into 
the south ; " that is to say, into the " Negeb/* or 
south country, through which he had previously 
passed on his way to Mitzraim ; and that he there 
"went on his journeys, from the south (Negeb) 
even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had 
been at the beginning." 4 Now, it is deserving of 
special consideration that the very word " Mitz- 
raim," which, in the Septuagint Greek version, and 
all other versions that follow it, is retained as in 

1 Gen. xii. 17. ' Gen. xii. 9, 10. 

3 Gen. xiii. 1. * Gen. xiii. 3. 



the original Hebrew in the tenth chapter of the 
Book of Genesis, is here, in the twelfth chapter of 
the same Book, translated " Egypt," gratuitously, 
and most wrongly, as I contend ; for in the first 
mention of the name it would have been impossible 
to say, and " Egypt begat Ludim, and Pathrusim, 
and Casluhim (out of whom came Philistim) ; " and 
if so, on what pretence is the Hebrew word " Mitz- 
raim " in the very next page of the Bible to be 
translated "Egypt," and thus made to apply to 
the country known by that name in Profane 
History ? 

In my opinion, this arbitrary and wholly unwar- 
rantable assumption of the identity of the two 
countries, and the consequent erroneous translation 
of the Hebrew expression Mitzraim, has been more 
fraught with mischief, leading to the misunder- 
standing of the Scripture history, than any of 
the numerous errors which have unhappily to 
be laid at the door of the Septuagint Greek trans- 

Independently of this, I would ask whether it 
is reasonable to imagine, or is it at all likely, 
that the Patriarch, in his journeys between Bethel 
and the distant western country " Egypt," would 
have proceeded through the " Negeb " or South 


Country? A glance at the map will show tbat 
this must be answered in the negative. 

If, however, we consider the land of Mitzraim, 
into which Abram went down from the " South " 
Country, to be in close proximity to that country 
and to the land of the Philistines, we may without 
difficulty understand not merely this portion of the 
Scripture history, but likewise those subsequent 
portions in which "Mitzraim" is wrongly trans- 
lated " Egypt." For example, we read that Sarah's 
handmaid, Hagar the " Mitzrite," when ill-treated 
by her mistress, fled into the wilderness, to the 
well called " Beer-lahai-roi, between Kadesh and 
Bered;" * and that Abraham afterwards "journeyed 
from thence (Hebron) towards the south country 
(Negeb), and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, 
and sojourned in Gerar ; " 9 that Hagar's son Ish- 
mael, when driven with her from his fathers house, 
" dwelt in the wilderness of Paran : and his mother 
took him a wife out of the land of Mitzraim ; " 8 
and that he and his descendants " dwelt from 
Havilab unto Shur, that is before Mitzraim, as 
thou goest toward Assyria:" 4 — from all which 
texts, and from many others that might be cited, 

1 Gen. xvi. 14. * Gen. xz. 1. * Gen. xxL 21. 

4 Gen. xxv. 18. 


it certainly does appear that the country of Mitz- 
raim therein named, — let its precise position and 
its boundaries be what they may,— can only have 
been in the immediate neighbourhood of the land 
of the Philistines and the South Country. 

But many years ago the objection was raised by 
the late Dean Milman, when reviewing my work 
" Origines BiblicaB," and it has since been repeated 
by many others, that the Mitzraim of Scripture * 
was celebrated for its fertile corn-fields, which 
supplied not merely the native Mitzrites, but also 
their famished neighbours with food, and that this 
could only be Egypt watered by the river Nile ; 
and under this view the seven years' famine in 
Mitzraim which Joseph prognosticated, and saga- 
ciously provided against, is ascribed to the failure 
or insufficiency of the periodical inundations of 
that river. But this argument may be conclusively 
met by that which I adduced in answer to the 
criticism of Dr. Paulus of Jena, 2 who, next to Dean 
Milman, was my great opponent on this subject ; 
namely, that natural causes operating during seven 
consecutive years at the sources of the Nile in 

1 See Quarterly Review for November 1834, vol. lii pp. 510, 

8 See Heidelberger Jahrbucher, January 1835. See also Beke's 
" Vertheidigung gegen Herra Dr. Paulus/' Leipzig, 1835. 



Abyssinia, or elsewhere in the interior of Africa, 
could not be connected with the natural causes 
which produced a famine in the Land of Canaan, 
and in the " South Country " (Negeb) precisely dur- 
ing the same period. This objection was, however, 
attempted to be met by Dean Milman's suggestion 
in his " History of the Jews," l that " a long and 
general drought, which would burn up the herbage 
of all the pastoral districts of Asia, might likewise 
diminish that accumulation of waters which, at its 
regular period, pours down the channel of the Nile. 
The waters are collected in the greatest part from 
the drainage of all the high levels in that region of 
Central Africa where the tropical rains, about the 
summer solstice, fall with incessant violence." But 
this suggestion is invalidated by the fact stated in 
my recently published pamphlet, "Mount Sinai 
a Volcano," p. 19, 2 that the tropical winds on 
which the rains in Central Africa are dependent do 
not extend to the pastoral districts of Asia; so 
that, even on the unphilosophical assumption of the 
absolute suspension of those winds throughout the 
tropics during seven consecutive years, acting not 
merely upon the Nile, but upon every other river 

1 Oilman's History of the JewB, vol. i. 4th edit., 1866, p. 52. 
1 Published by Tinsley Brothers, 1873. 


throughout the world having its sources within the 
tropics, a second natural cause, independent of such 
tropical winds, would still be requisite to produce 
the simultaneous drought within the extra-tropical 
regions of Asia to which Canaan and the Negeb 

Hence I suggested to my German reviewer, and 
I do so now to all who entertain the same opinion, 
that as he and they would doubtless be incredulous 
as to the miraculous coincidence of two such dis- 
tinct natural causes, they might, on reflection, be 
inclined to admit that Mitzraim, like Canaan and the 
other districts where the famine raged during one 
and the same period, could not have been .situate 
within the valley of the Nile; and that, conse- 
quently, one single natural cause, namely, an extra- 
ordinary continual drought in all those countries 
at the same time, with which the inundation of the 
Nile had nothing whatever to do, would suffice to 
bring about the result recorded in the Scripture 
history, the famine caused by that extensive 
drought having been specially and exclusively pro- 
vided against in Mitzraim by the miraculous fore- 
sight and administrative talent of Joseph. 

That the Land of the Philistines was a rich and 
fertile country, possessing vines and olives, and 


producing corn, is shown by the story of Samson, 1 
and the fact of its having furnished the Israelites 
with a resource in case of famine is established not 
only by what is narrated of the Shunammite widow, 
who having been forewarned by Elisha of the ap- 
proaching seven years' famine in the land of Israel, 
" went with her household, and sojourned in the 
land of the Philistines seven years/' * precisely as, 
eight centuries previously, her ancestor, the Patri- 
arch Jacob, and his household, had, under similar 
circumstances, migrated into the conterminous corn- 
growing country of Mitzraim ; but yet more by the 
apposite case of the Patriarch Isaac, of whom we 
read, that after his father's death, and whilst he 
"dwelt by the well Lahai-roi," 8 "there was a 
famine in the land, beside the first famine that was 
in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto 
Abimelech, king of the Philistines, unto Gerar. And 
the Eternal appeared unto him, and said, Go not 
down into Mitzraim ; dwell in the land which I 
shall tell thee of. Sojourn in this land. . . . And 
Isaac dwelt in Gerar." 4 From which text it is 
manifest that even in the time of that patriarch 
the corn-growing country Philistia was a resource 
against famine, as it was in the time of the Prophet 

1 Judges xv. 5. 2 2 Kings viii. 1, 2. * Gen. xxv. 11. 

4 Gen. xxvi. 1-6. 


Elisha; and therefore the argument that Egypt, 
watered by the Nile, must of necessity have been 
the only country that escaped the famine in the 
next generation after Isaac, falls to the ground. 

The further objection, that the country which I 
assert to be Mitzraim is at the present day a dreary 
waste, incapable of supplying its own wants, not to 
speak of those of the adjoining countries, is surely 
not valid. How many are the once rich, fertile, 
and populous regions in various parts of the earth, 
of which the condition has deteriorated quite as 
much as that of the Mitzraim of Scripture ! 

The Negeb, or " South Country," in particular, 
has, by the recent explorations of Professor Palmer 
and (the late) Mr. Tyrwhitt Drake, been found 
to be covered with ruins of buildings and other 
signs of former prosperity and fertility, 1 which 
entirely belie the notions hitherto entertained of 
its utter inability to have ever maintained a 
large settled population, or, in fact, any inhabi- 
tants whatever beyond the scanty tribes that now 
wander over its barren surface. The following 
extracts from the " Desert of the Exodus " of the 
former of these two travellers shall be cited in proof 
of this assertion. On the road from Kala&b en 

1 See Wilton's " Negeb," p. 61, London, 1863. 


Nakhal to Hebron, in about 30 20' N. lat., Profes- 
sor Palmer says : — " Descending into Widy Lussdn 
itself, we found considerable signs of former cul- 
tivation ; admirably constructed dams stretched 
across the valley, and on the higher slope were long 
low walls of very careful construction, consisting 
of two rows of stones beautifully arranged in a 
straight line, with smaller pebbles between. One 
of these was 1 80 yards long, then came a gap, and 
another wall of 240 yards, at the end of which it 
turned round in a sharp angle. The next was even 
larger, and here the object of the walls was at once 
apparent, as the enclosure was divided into large 
steps or terraces, to regulate the irrigation and dis- 
tribute the water, the edge of each step being care- 
fully built up with stones. They formed Mezdri, 
or cultivated patches of ground ; and from the art 
displayed in their arrangement, belonged, evidently, 
to a later and more civilised people than those who 
now inhabit the country." 1 

Mr. Palmer identifies this spot Lussan with the 
ancient Roman station Lysa, which is mentioned in 
the Peutinger Tables as situated forty-eight Roman 
miles from Eboda or Abdeh. 

He goes on to say that the principal reason for 

1 Palmer's Desert of the Exodus, i87i,p. 347. 


assuming Hebron, or more properly Wddy el Khalil, 
not to be the Eshkol of Numbers xiii. 23, " appears 
to be the circumstance that Hebron is the most 
southern point of Palestine where grapes are found, 
and that the district is still renowned for them. 
But (says he) it is a noteworthy fact that among 
the most striking characteristics of the Negeb are 
miles of hill-sides and valleys covered with the 
small stone-heaps formed by sweeping together in 
regular swathes the flints which strew the ground ; 
along these grapes were trained, and they still 
retain the name of TeleiUt el 'Anab, or 'grape 
mounds/ Towers similar to those which adorn 
the vineyards of Palestine are also of frequent oc- 
currence throughout the country." l And at page 
356 Mr. Palmer says, " The hill-sides are traversed 
in every direction by well-constructed paths, and 
traces are also visible in the valley of dams and 
other devices for irrigation, all of which bespeak a 
former state of fertility and industry." A few 
miles farther north the travellers came to the con- 
fluence of W£dy el ' Ain, Wddy Gaseimeh, and W&ly 
es Serdm; and the Professor adds (pp. 357, 358), 
" At the mouth of W&dy el 'Ain the hill-sides are 
covered with paths and walls, and the bed of the 

1 ifttcrotm, Palmer's Desert of the Exodus, 1871, p. 352. 


w£dy has strongly-built dams extending across it, 
and is filled with mez4rf or sowing-fields, and the 
surrounding hills are covered with innumerable 
stone remains. ... As we proceed northward from 
this point, the marks of former cultivation become 
more and more apparent at every step. The w&dy- 
beds are embanked and laid out in fields, and 
dams are thrown across to break the force of, and 
utilise the water. The hill-sides are covered with 
paths and terraces, and everywhere there is some 
trace of ingenious industry." And next day he 
describes W&dy Berein as " a broad valley, taking 
its rise in Jebel Magrdh, and filled with vegeta- 
tion ; grass, asphodel, and 'oshej grew in great pro- 
fusion. Flowers sprang beneath our feet, immense 
herds of cattle were going to and fro between us 
to the wells, and large flocks of well-fed sheep and 
goats were pasturing upon the neighbouring hills. 
Numbers of donkeys, and some horses, the first we 
had seen in the country, were also feeding there. 
. . . The valley has been enclosed for purposes of 
cultivation, and banked-up terraces (called by the 
Arabs 'ugtim), to stop the force of the sells and 
spread the waters over the cultivated ground, 
extend along the whole length of the w£dy-bed." l 

1 Palmer's Desert of the Exodus, 1871, p. 361. 


The followiDg interesting description is also 
given by Professor Palmer of the mode in which 
water is obtained from wells sunk in the chalk 
country of Berein. He says : — " Opposite the 
dowdr [or stone circle serving as enclosure for 
cattle] are two deep wells, built with very solid 
masonry, and surrounded with troughs for water- 
ing the flocks and herds ; one of them is dry, 
the other still yields good water, and is about 
twenty-five feet deep. Besides the troughs, there 
are circular trenches, fenced round with stones, for 
the cattle to drink from. A man in the airy cos- 
tume of our first parents was always to be seen 
drawing water for the camels, hundreds of which 
were crowding around to drink. When the camels 
had finished, the flocks came up ; it was a curious 
sight to see the sheep and goats taking their turns, 
a few goats going up and making way for a few 
sheep, and so on until the whole flock had finished. 
A little farther on, is the Jisktyeh, a large reservoir, 
with an aqueduct leading down to it from the 
wells. The aqueduct is on the north-east side of the 
valley ; it is well constructed and firmly cemented ; 
the channel for the water is about eighteen inches 
wide and sixteen deep, and built on huge blocks 
of stone, which support it from below and give 


the proper level ; above it is a row of huge boulders, 
arranged so as to protect it from the falling Jtbris 
and torrents. The fisk&yeh, or reservoir, is built of 
rather roughly dressed but squared stones, the 
courses of masonry, which are eight in number, 
running with great regularity vertically as well as 
horizontally. It has been originally plastered on 
the inside with hard cement, some of which still 
remains on the walls. Around the top of the walls 
is a path some eighteen inches wide, and above 
this are two more courses of masonry. The earth 
outside the tank has been piled up to within 
three feet of the top, and the remains of buttresses 
are still to be seen around it." 1 Writiog of the 
people of Hanein (p. 365), he adds: "There 
exists an old tradition among them that, ' should 
a sett [flood or torrent] once come down Wddy 
Hanein, there would be an end to all prosperity 
in the land.' . . . The tradition evidently dates 
from ancient times, and alludes to the admirable 
art with which the valley is dammed up, or rather 
laid out in terraces with strong embankments ; 
these would make it simply impossible for any 
flood to rush through the valley, and would distri- 
bute the waters of a torrent equally over the sur- 

1 Palmer's Desert of the Exodus, p. 362. 


faces of the cultivated terraces, instead of allowing 
them to rush unimpeded down to the sea, as they 
would do in other valleys unprotected by such art." 
All the valleys here mentioned are tributaries of 
the great Nakhal Mitzrdim (or Nafral), the Wddy 
el Kebir (" Quadalquiver "), or great stream of 
Mitzraim, now known as the W£dj r el *Arish. 

Professor Palmer goes on to say, that in two hours 
and ten minutes from Berein they reached El 'Aujeh, 
where they encamped, a little above W£dy Hanein, 
in about 30 50' north latitude, and being still 
about forty geographical miles south of Hebron, 
and twenty-five miles north of Beersheba. " Now 
all is desert, though the immense numbers of walls 
and terraces show how extensively cultivated the 
valley must once have been. Arab tradition, which 
calls W£dy Hanein a 'valley of gardens/ is un- 
doubtedly true for many of those large, flat, 
strongly-embanked terraces must have been once 
planted with fruit-trees, and others have been laid 
out in kitchen-gardens : this would still leave many 
miles for the cultivation of grain." * 

My own experience too, in my passage across 
the desert, between the heads of the Gulfs of Akaba 
and Suez, has convinced me that the destruction of 

1 Palmer's Desert of the Exodus, p. 366. 

wAd Y EL 'ARISH. 63 

the trees which once were planted there, and the 
consequent aridity of the country has reduced it to 
the miserable condition in which it now is. 

The time was when the Nakhal Mitzraim, the 
Brook of Mitzraim, 1 — not the " River of Egypt," as 
it is so erroneously translated, and now known as 
the W&dy el 'Arish, — was, as were once the Paglione 
of Nice, the Po, the Arno, the Tiber, the Sebeto, and 
most of the Italian rivers, a full perennial stream, 
instead of being, as it now is, a dry river-bed, except 
at the momentary period when it is an impetuous 
torrent carrying away every atom of good produc- 
tive soil, and overwhelming and destroying every- 
thing it meets with in its headlong course. 

In thus speaking of the Wddy el 'Arish, or 
Nakhal Mitzraim, I wish it to be understood that 
this wddy, or one of its branches, and not the Nile 
of Egypt, is the Ye6r of the Biblical Mitzraim, on 
the brink of which the infant Moses was exposed, 2 
and the water of which was turned into blood * by 
the deliverer of the Israelites. 

That the Hebrew expression " Ye6r " cannot mean 
the Nile may be proved by twofold arguments. In 
the first place, it is the Euphrates that is styled 

1 In " Origines Biblicse," p. 286, I conjectured this to have been 
the W6dy Ghazzo, the much smaller wddy near Gaza. 
* Exod. ii. 3. s Exod. vii. 19. 


in the Pentateuch " the great river " (tear egoxnv), 
which it would not have been had the much 
larger river, the Nile of Egypt, been known to 
the Israelites; and secondly, we find it stated in 
the account of the first of the "plagues of Mitz- 
raim " that " the Eternal spake unto Moses, Say 
unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine 
hand upon the waters of Mitzraim, upon their 
streams (naharothdm), upon their river (yeorehSm), 
and upon their ponds (agmehSm), and upon all their 
pools (mikveh memehSm) of water, that they may 
become blood ; " l when, if the words " nehar6th," 
"yeorfm," "agaramfm," and " mikveh mayim," be 
considered (which it would seem they ought to be) 
as placed in the order of their relative importance, 
it would result that the "ye6r" must be looked 
upon as being of an inferior character to the 
"nah&r;" and seeing that "nahir" is from its 
derivation a stream or natural river of flowing 
water — from nahdr, " to flow " — it is not unlikely 
that "ye6r" may, in contradiction to "nah£r," 
mean an artificial watercourse, a canal, as ap- 
parently it does in Job xxviii. 10. Or it may 
mean a fountain, or perhaps even a wddy or 
" winter-brook." At all events, as there were several 

1 Exod. vii. 19. 

ye6r OF MITZRAIM. 65 

ye6ra (yeorim) in Mitzraim and elsewhere, and the 
expression ye&r is subordinate to nahar, — the 
" bahr " of the Arabs, the " yc6r " of Exodus, can- 
not under any circumstances be their Bahr en Nil 
— the river Nile, which, in the estimation of the 
natives of Egypt, both ancient and modern, is 
without its equal in the whole world. 

On an impartial consideration of the whole sub- 
ject, it appears to be certain that the country in 
which the yedr of Mitzraim l was situated was alto- 
gether beyond the- reach of the Nilotic inundations, 
not merely on account of its total unfitness for the 
permanent pasture of the flocks and herds of the 
Israelites, had it been subject to be periodically 
overflowed, but also from the circumstance that had 
it been exposed to these inundations, the descrip- 
tion given of it in the Pentateuch, and the marked 
distinction made between Mitzraim and the Land of 
Canaan, would be totally inapplicable. The words 
are, " For the land, whither thou goest in to possess 
it, is not as the land of Mitzraim, from whence ye 
came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst 
it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs : but the land, 
whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and 
valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven : 
a land which the Eternal thy God careth for ; " 2 — 

1 See Origines Biblicse, pp. 288, 289. 8 Deut. xi. 10-12. 



from which declaration it is manifest that the grand 
distinction between the Promised Land and the 
country of Mitzraim, as regarded the productions of 
Nature, was, that in the former country vegetation 
was produced by natural means, that is to say, by 
" the rain from heaven," whereas in the latter it 
was principally by artificial irrigation, — by the 
* watering with the foot ' — that the abundant har- 
vests were produced which caused Mitzraim to be 
a place of refuge for the pastoral people of the 
regions to the north-east, in the time of scarcity to 
which they were so often subject from a deficiency 
of water in their own country. 

The discussion of the subject of the Yam Suf, or 
Red Sea, which I consider to be the Sea of Edom, 
or Gulf of Akaba, and not the Gulf of Suez, 1 had 
better be deferred till I come to treat of my voyage 
up that sea in the steamer " Erin," so kindly placed 
at my disposal for that purpose by his Highness the 
Khddive of Egypt. 

The way being otherwise thus cleared, we may 
proceed to the consideration of the true position of 
Mount Sinai. 

From what has been said in the preceding 

1 See Origines Biblicce, pp. 176-182; also Dr. Beke's "Mount 
Sinai a Volcano," p. 8, published 1873. 


chapter, it is manifest that there is no tradition 
respecting the position of Mount Sinai on which 
the slightest dependence can be placed, unless 
indeed the statements of the Apostle Paul and the 
historian Josephus, already cited, be accepted as 
indications of the survival to their days of the 
knowledge that that mountain was situated within 
the Arabian country of Midian on the east side of 
the valley of the Jordan, and its continuation to 
the Gulf of Akaba, known as the Ghor and W4dy 
Arabah ; and that the Biblical Land of Midian was 
part of the " East Country " inhabited by the de- 
scendants of the Patriarch Abraham by Keturah l — 
that is to say, the country lying to the east of 
Jordan — is a truism that scarcely stands in need of 
proof. The position of Midian is thus stated in 
" Origines Biblicaa : " 2 — " It is known that the dis- 
trict immediately to the eastward of the Dead Sea 
and of the Jordan was possessed by the Moabites 
and Ammonites, the descendants of Lot ; and as the 
situation of the country of the Keturites was also 
east of Jordan, these latter people, of whom the 
Midianites were a principal branch, must — so far 
as they spread themselves southward, — necessarily 
have had their territory at the front, or to the east 

1 Gen. xxv. 1-5. 2 Origines Biblicw, p. 190. 


of the country of the children of Moab and Ammon. 
In thus extending themselves over the great Syrian 
Desert, as far, probably, as 'the great river, the 
river Euphrates/ the possessions of these descen- 
dants of Abraham by Keturah would have ap- 
proached those of the children of Ishmael, who 
* dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, that is before 
Mitzraim, as thou goest toward Assyria ; ' x and as 
these two people were of common origin, we can 
have no difficulty in conceiving that the Midianites 
may have become so intermixed and even amalga- 
mated with the Ishmaelites, as to have occasioned 
the two races frequently to be considered as one 
people. That such was actually the case is, indeed, 
evident from the fact, that the names of these two 
people, the Ishmaelites and the Midianites, are in 
two instances used in Scripture as convertible 
terms ; the one instance being where the c com- 
pany of Ishmeelites/ to whom Joseph was sold by 
his brethren, are in the same passage also described 
as 'Midianites/ c merchant-men; ,2 and the other 
occurring where the Midianites, under Zebah and 
Zalmunna, who were conquered by Gideon, are 
mentioned as wearing 'golden ear-rings, because 
they were Ishmaelites/ 8 that is to say, Midianites." 

1 Gen. xxv. 18. * Gen. xxxvii. 25-28. s Judges viii. 12-24. 


[In support of this hypothesis, I would venture 
to draw attention to our friend. Captain Richard 
Burton's recent discoveries in Midian. I think I 
may evidence, as a remarkable confirmation of Dr. 
Beke's conclusion, the fact that Captain Burton has 
found gold there. Following in the footsteps of my 
lamented husband, he made an expedition at the 
commencement of last year (1877) to the Land of 
Midian, on the east side of the Gulf of Akaba (which 
is under the viceregal rule of the Khddive of Egypt) ; 
that he landed at Moilah, on the east coast of the 
Arabian Gulf (erroneously called "Red Sea"), at 
the entrance to the Gulf of Akaba, or " Red Sea ; " 
that thence he proceeded to Aiuunah, a place a 
little farther north — of which a description is given 
by Dr. Beke in chapter vii. ; and here commenced 
those explorations which resulted in the following 
announcement in the "Times" of the 14th May 
1877 : — "From Makna, i.e., Midian (Mugna of the 
maps), the capital of the Land of Midian, 1 up to 
Akaba, at the head of the gulf, Captain Burton 
reports the country as auriferous, and he believes 
the district southwards as far as Gebel Hassani— a 
mountain well known to geographers — to possess 
the same character. He even goes so far as to say 

1 For illustration of Midian, see chapter vii. 


he has brought back to life an ancient California." 
It is further reported by Captain Burton that the 
country abounds in curious w&dies ; that the coast is 
divided from the interior by a range of granite and 
porphyry mountains running about parallel with 
the sea ; but water has worn its way as usual, and 
these gorges, each with its mountain torrent, occur 
at frequent intervals. They are barren rocky places, 
with no possibility of much culture, and yet they 
all bear signs of abundant population in times gone 
by. Large towns, built not of mud, as Arab towns 
often are, but of solid masonry, such as the Romans 
always used ; roads cut in the rock, aqueducts five 
miles long, remains of massive fortresses, artificial 
lakes — all signs of wealth. That the rocks are full 
of mineral wealth. Gold and silver he found in 
great quantities — the quartz and chlorites occurring 
with gold in them just as they are found in the gold 
districts of South America ; evidences of turquoise 
mines ; and abundance of copper, antimony, and, 
indeed, of all the metals mentioned in the Books of 
Numbers and in Judges. Thus affording a most 
remarkable confirmation of the truth of the Holy 
Record, that, " among the spoils brought from the 
Land of Midian (Numb. xxxi. 22, 50-54) were gold, 
silver, brass, tin, iron, lead, and jewels ; " and in 


another expedition (Judges viiL 24-27) that the 
quantity of gold taken was so great that " Gideon 
made an ephod thereof, and put it in his city." It is 
a curious fact (says a correspondent of the " Times," 
1 2th November 1877) that these mines were known 
to the anciente so long ago as the time of Eamses 
III., whose cartouche is inscribed on the Needle 
which has just been brought to England. In the 
Harris Papyrus, in the British Museum, the Mow- 
ing passage occurs (and is given from the translation 
of the hieroglyphics) : — " I, Eamses, have sent my 
commissioners to the land Akaba, to the great 
mines of coppers and others there, and their ships 
were loaded with coppers and others (the men) 
marching on their asses. Nobody had heard since 
the olden kings that one had found these mines. 
The cargoes were copper. The cargoes were by 
myriads ; for their ships which went from there to 
Egypt arrived happily. Discharge was made accord- 
ing to order under the pavilion of brick of the Kings 
of Thebes of the copper, numerous as frogs in the 
marsh, in quality equal to gold of the third degree, 
admired by the world as a marvellous thing." 

From what has been so far related, it may with- 
out doubt be concluded that the Midian, which Dr. 
Beke discovered in 1874 on the east side of the 


Gulf of Akaba, is the Midian of Moses's father-in- 
law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, Dr. Beke hav- 
ing identified " Moses's Place of Prayer " at Midian 
(Mugna of the maps) with the " Encampment by 
the Red Sea of the Israelites," and Marghara 
Sho'eib, or "Jethro's Cave" (distant half a day's 
journey), also with the " Elim " of the Exodus. 

Apart then from the interest generally felt in 
Captain Burton's explorations now being made in 
search of gold, those who are interested in the far 
more momentous Biblical subject, will look, as I 
do, with the deepest anxiety for the particulars 
which this learned and experienced traveller can so 
ably, and indeed better than any one else, furnish 
us with, of this hitherto little known and unexplored 
country. 1 — Ed.] 

The convertibility of the two terms " Midianites" 
and " Ishmaelites" is similar to that at the pre- 
sent day of Britons and Englishmen, — Gauls and 
Frenchmen. The Ishmaelites, however, would ap- 
pear to have stretched themselves out farther to 
the south and east than the Midianites, namely, 
towards Havilah, which in Genesis x. 28, 29, is 
joined with Sheba and Ophir, these three countries 
having been all noted for the gold which they 

1 See Capt Barton's forthcoming work, " The Gold Mines of Midian." 


supplied ; and hence it was that the Ishmaelites 
obtained the "golden earrings" which they were 
accustomed to wear. 1 

Some curious information bearing immediately 
on this subject was communicated by the Rev. 
George Williams to the Section of Geography 
and Ethnology, at the Cambridge Meeting of the 
British Association, on October 7, 1862, and re- 
corded by me in "A Few Words with Bishop 
Colenso ; " 2 on the subject of the Exodus of the 
Israelites and the position of Mount Sinai, pub- 
lished shortly afterwards. It was to the effect, that 
there is a tribe of Arabs inhabiting a portion of the 
Arabian Desert, east of the Ghor — that is to say, 
in the direction of the ancient land of Midian — who 
are described as being much superior to the ordi- 
nary Bedouins, and in several respects very different 
from them. 8 They profess the Israelitish religion, 
and declare themselves to be Ishmaelites descended 
from the Rechabites, " the children of the Kenite, 
Moses's father-in-law," 4 affirming that they dwelt 
in the original country of their forefathers. A 

1 The position of Ophir is discussed in " Origines Biblicsa," pp. 
1 1 2-1 1 6, and in u The Sources of the Nile," pp. 60-65. 

* Published by Williams & Norgate, 1862, p. 1 1. 

3 Did not Captain Burton meet with them on his journey to 
Mecca? 4 Judges i. 16, i v. 11. 


peculiarity of this relation, which was at that time, 
as it is now, my motive for directing attention to it, 
is, that these Bedouins are said to claim to be both 
Ishmaelites and Rechabites (that is, " Midianites "), 
the two descents being adopted by them apparently 
without any distinction ; in which fact we have a 
pertinent illustration of the two texts of Scripture 
adverted to above. 

The situation of the country of the Midianites 
being thus approximative^ determined, even if 
not absolutely defined, if we now turn to the 
second chapter of Exodus, we there read that, 
" Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt 
in the land of Midian," l that is to say, in this 
" East Country," the only country that ever rightly 
bore that name. The placing of the Midian into 
which Moses fled within the mountainous region 
on the west side of the Gulf of Akaba, where it is 
actually to the south of the N^geb, or "South 
Country," 8 and thus making it appear that there 
were at one and the same time two countries of one 
and the same name on the two opposite sides of 
the Gulf of Akaba, or Eed Sea, is one of the ab- 
surdities which have been caused by the exigencies 
of the Egyptian tradition, which had placed Mount 

1 Exod. \L 15. * Gen. xx. 1. 


Sinai within the Peninsula on the west side of that 

We further read that whilst dwelling in this 
land of Midian in the " East Country," " Moses 
kept the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, the 
priest of Midian ; and he led the flock to the back 
side of the desert, " * — as the expression is usually 
rendered ; but, as it should be translated in its pro- 
per geographical sense, 2 " to the west of the desert," 
— and he there "came to the Mount of God, 
Horeb," which mountain, consequently, as regards 
the direction from the dwelling of Jethro in Midian, 
whence Moses had led the sheep, would be on that 
side of the desert which is nearest to Mitzraim, or 
between his country and Midian. 

After the command given to Moses to return to 
Mitzraim, he first "went and returned to Jethro, 
his father-in-law," 8 in Midian, to acquaint him 
with his intended departure, and then he "took 
his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, 
and he returned to the land of Mitzraim." 4 And 
we further read that the Eternal, agreeably to the 

1 Exod. iii. 1. 

* The Hebrews express " east," " west,* " north," aad " south," 
by " before," " behind," " left," and "right" according to their bear- 
ing from the position of a man whose face is turned towards the 
rising sun. * Exod. iv. 18. 4 Exod. iv. 20. 


word which He spake to Moses at Horeb, said to 
Aaron, " Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. 
And he went, and met him in the Mount of God." * 
The fact here undeniably established is that Moses, 
on his road from Midian into Mitzraim, encountered 
Aaron, who was coming out of the latter country 
to meet him, and that the place where the brothers 
met was " the Mount of God," the identical place 
" to the west side of the desert," where the Eternal 
had previously appeared to Moses " in a flame of 
fire out of the midst of a bush." 2 

In the absence of all reasons to the contrary, we 
are justified, therefore, in assuming — if indeed we 
are not bound to conclude — that the road which 
was taken by Moses on his return to Mitzraim, and 
on which he was thus met by Aaron, was the usual 
and direct road between the two countries ; for on 
no other road would they have had a chance of 
encountering one another without a special direc- 
tion from the Almighty as to the course they were 
each to take ; and that no such direction was given 
is to be inferred from the words of God unto 
Moses, having been, simply, " Is not Aaron the 
Levite thy brother ? . . . Behold, he cometh forth 
to meet thee." 8 Consequently it is in the direction 

1 Exod. iv. 27. * Exod. iii. 2. 8 Exod. iv. 14. 


of this highroad between Mitzraim and Midian that 
we have to look for the precise position of " the 
Mount of God." 

It may be well here to touch briefly on the ques- 
tion as to whether " Horeb, the Mount of God," is 
the same as " Mount Sinai " on which the Law was 
delivered — not that any real difficulty on this point 
presents itself to my own mind, but because of the 
idea entertained by many persons that the two must 
be different, inasmuch as the monkish tradition, 
which makes Jebel Musa to be Sinai, regards as 
Horeb the rock projecting into the plain of Eahab, 
known as Ras Sufs&feh. But the utter worthless- 
ness of the tradition having been shown, any argu- 
ment based on that tradition alone cannot but be 
equally valueless. As far as the Scripture narra- 
tive is concerned, Sinai and Horeb appear to be 
synonymous and interchangeable designations of 
the same Holy Place. In the words of Jerome, 
"Mihi autem videtur quod duplice nomine mons 
nunc Sina, nunc Choreb vocetur." 1 

The country to the east of the meridian of the 
Jordan and of the Gulf of Akaba, in which Mount 
Sinai is thus shown to be situated, is so little known, 
that any attempt to fix with precision the position 

1 De Situ et Nominibus, 191. 


of the spot where the Almighty spake with His 
servant Moses in the sight of the Children of Israel, 
must, without precise local information, be hardly 
better than mere speculation. 

For forty years past, since I published " Origines 
Biblic»," I have from time to time speculated on 
the subject in various publications, of which the 
principal ones are noted at foot ; the last of them, 
namely, the pamphlet " Mount Sinai a Volcano," 1 
having been the immediate cause of the journey 
which I undertook towards the close of last year 
(1873), with a view to verify the conclusions 
at which I had arrived in that pamphlet. What 
success has attended my attempt will be narrated 
in chapters vii. and viii. 

1 " Mount Sinai a Volcano," published by Tinsley Brothers, 
1 873. " A Few Words with Bishop Colenso," published by Williams 
& Norgate, 1862. " On the Localities of Horeb, Mount Sinai, and 
Midian," published in the "British Magazine," vol. vii., June 1835. 
"On the Wanderings of the Israelites in the Desert," "Asiatic 
Journal," May 1838. "On the Passage of the Bed Sea by the 
Israelites," "Asiatic Journal," vol. xxvi, May 1838. " The Idol in 
Horeb," Tinsley Brothers, 1871. Mrs. Beke's "Jacob's Flight," 
Longman 8 & Co., 1865, &c. 

( 79 ) 




It is said that about the middle of the third cen- 
tury before the commencement of the Christian era, 
Manetho, the High Priest of the Temple of Isis at 
Sebennytria, in Lower Egypt, was commanded by 
Ptolemy Philadelphia, the second sovereign of the 
Greek Dynasty of the LagidaB, to compose in the 
Greek language a history of his native country 
from the sacred records. 

The Egyptian scribe is represented as being versed 
in Greek not less than in Egyptian lore, which 
might well be the case, seeing the intercourse that 
had existed between Greece and Egypt during the 
four centuries which had elapsed since the accession 
of Psammitichus in 665 B.C. As instances of this, 
and also to serve as landmarks of the interchange 
of ideas that must necessarily have taken place 
between the two nations during that long interval, 
it may be mentioned that Solon visited Egypt in 

* Written by the late Dr. Beke, June 12, 1874. 


558 B.O., Thales in 548 b.c., Hecataeus in 520-475 
b.c, Pythagoras in 498, and Herodotus in 413 B.c. 
It has long been the habit to attribute to the 
Egyptians an amount of wisdom far exceeding that 
of any other nations of antiquity, in support of 
which notion is also the statement in 1 Kings iv. 30, 
that "Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of 
all the children of the east country, and all the 
wisdom of Mitzraim ; " but this, in the first place, is 
founded on the assumption that " Mitzraim " means 
" Egypt," which I deny ; and secondly, this wisdom 
of one man is placed in juxtaposition with the 
" wisdom of the children of the east country," and 
with that of the learned men named in the follow- 
ing verse. 1 " For he was wiser than all men ; than 
Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and 
Darda, the sons of Mahol : and his fame was in 
all nations round about ; " so that in reality it has 
no specific application. That an inquisitive tra- 
veller like Herodotus should call the Egyptians " by 
far the best-instructed people with whom he had 
become acquainted, since they, of all men, store up 
most for recollection," 2 is just such a remark as an 
European traveller of the present day might make 
with respect to the Hindoos or Chinese. 

1 1 Kings iv. 31. f Herodotus, lib. ii. sect. yy. 


And on the other hand, we may well imagine a 
native of the Celestial Empire to address an " out- 
side barbarian " in words similar to those in which, 
as Plato tells us, the priests of Sais apostrophised 
one of the seven sages of Greece : " Solon, Solon I 
you Greeks are but children ; in Greece there does 
not exist an old man/' I may even appeal to my 
own experience in Abyssinia, where the longer I 
resided, and the more I became acquainted with 
the language, and the manners, and customs of the 
people, the more learned and intelligent I was con- 
sidered to be ; so that had I remained long enough 
among those semi-barbarians, I might eventually 
have expected to be complimented on my having 
become as wise as themselves. 

And yet, notwithstanding this self-conceit, the 
sure sign of real ignorance, we may rest assured 
that, like as the Europeans in India, China, and 
Abyssinia, the Greeks imported into Egypt far 
more real knowledge than they acquired from the 
natives of that country. 

Without raising any question as to the authen- 
ticity of the story of Manetho, which is, however, 
similar to the apocryphal tale of the origin of the 
Greek version of the Old Testament, said to have 

been in like manner made by order of Ptolemy 



Philadelphia, by seventy - two learned Jews of 
Alexandria, it has to be remarked that lists of the 
Sovereigns of Egypt must have existed long before 
the time of the Ptolemies. Herodotus, who visited 
that country more than a century and a half be- 
fore the date attributed to Manetho, relates that : — 
" When the part cut off had been made firm land 
by this Menes, who was first king, he in the first 
place built on it the city that is now called Mem- 
phis. ... In the next place, they relate that he 
built in it the Temple of Vulcan. . . . After this the 
priests enumerated from a book the names of three 
hundred and thirty other kings. In so many 
generations of men, there were eighteen Ethiopians 
and one native queen, the rest were Egyptians." 1 
And he goes on to say : * " Thus much of the 
account the Egyptians and the priests related, 
showing that from the first king to this priest of 
Vulcan who last reigned, were three hundred forty 
and one generations of men ; and during these 
generations, there were the same number of chief 
priests and kings. Now, three hundred generations 
are equal to ten thousand years, for three gene- 
rations of men are one hundred years : and the 
forty-one remaining generations that were over the 

1 Cary'B Translation of Herodotus, Euterpe, 99, 100. 

* Ibid., 142, 143. 


three hundred, make one thousand three hundred 
and forty years ... In former time, the priests of 
Jupiter did to Hecataeus the historian, when he 
was tracing his own genealogy, and connecting his 
family with a god in the sixteenth degree, the same 
as they did to me, though I did not trace my gene- 
alogy. Conducting me into the interior of an edifice 
that was spacious, and showing me wooden colossuses 
to the number I have mentioned, they reckoned them 
up ; for every high priest places an image of him- 
self there during his lifetime ; the priests, therefore, 
reckoning them and showing them to me, pointed 
out that each was the son of his own father ; going 
through them all, from the image of him that died 
last, until they had pointed them all out." 

Though Josephus tells us that Manetho " finds 
great fault with Herodotus for his ignorance and 
false relations of Egyptian affairs," * which, with the 
faith I have in the truthfulness of the Halicamas- 
sian traveller, and the little reliance I have on the 
statements of the " veracious " Jewish historian, and 
the Egyptian annalist, I am inclined to accept as a 
testimonial in favour of Herodotus. 

This alleged work of Manetho has not come down 
to our days : it did not even exist in the time of 
the Jewish historian Josephus, but is conjectured 

1 Contra Apion, lib. i. c. 14. 


to have perished when the great Alexandrian 
Library, founded by the same Ptolemy, was de- 
stroyed by fire, "in the forty- seventh year before 
Christ. " But fragments of it have been preserved 
by Josephus and others, and lists of the Sovereigns 
of Egypt from the time of Menes, said to be copied 
from Manetho, and probably obtained from other 
sources, likewise are found in the writings of sub- 
sequent authors, of whom the most famous are 
Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea, in the fourth century 
of our era, and the Byzantine monk, Georgius 
Syncellus, who lived five centuries later, and from 
whose work we possess the fullest list of the various 
dynasties of the sovereigns of Egypt according to 
Manetho, which he professes to have taken from 
the works of Julius Apecarius, Bishop of EmmaBus 
or Nicopolis, in Judaea, who flourished in the begin- 
ning of the third century, a.d. 250, or nearly five 
centuries after Manetho himself. 

Whatever questions may have existed formerly 
as to the genuineness of these Manetho dynasties, 
or as to whether some of them at least ought not 
to be considered as contemporaneous, like those of 
the kings of our Saxon Heptarchy, these Manetho- 
nic dynasties are at the present day accepted by 
most Egyptologists as authentic lists of one conse- 
cutive scries of Sovereigns, who governed that coun- 


try from the remotest period of history ; the date 
of the accession of the earliest king, Menes, being 
placed by Bunsen in 3059 B.C., by Lepsius in 3893 
B.C., and by Mariette in 5005 b.c. ; and the authen- 
ticity of these lists, notwithstanding these manifest 
discrepancies respecting their commencement, is 
affirmed to be established by the testimony of the 
hieroglyphical inscriptions on the monumental 
remains of Egypt, aa deciphered according to the 
system of Champollion. 

Nevertheless, it is a singular fact, which does not 
appear to have received the attention that it so 
justly deserves, that those hieroglyphical inscrip- 
tions, as hitherto interpreted, are far from agreeing 
with, and so confirming, the Manethonic lists. This 
is what Mariette Bey himself says on the subject 
in his valuable little work, " Aper9u de PHistoire 
d'Egypte," 1 published in 1872: from which I think 
it right to make the following extract. Speaking 

of the principal monuments possessing a general 
historic interest, that learned Egyptologist can- 
didly states that they are as follows : — 

" The first is a papyrus preserved in the Turin 
Museum, to which it was sold by M. Drovetti, 
Consul-General for France. Were this papyrus in- 

1 Alexandria, Moures & Co., 3d edit, 1872, p. 126* 


tact, Egyptology would not possess a more precious 
monument ; for it contains a list of all the mythical 
and historical personages who have reigned over 
Egypt from the fabulous ages down to a period 
which we cannot estimate because we do not 
possess the latter portion of the papyrus. This 
list, which was composed during the reign of 
Ramses II., one of the best epochs of Egyptian 
history, has all the signs of an official document ; 
and it would be of the greatest assistance to us, 
inasmuch as each royal name is followed by the 
length of his reign, and at the end of each dynasty 
is inserted the total number of years during which 
that dynasty had governed the affairs of Egypt. 
Unfortunately the carelessness of the fellahs who 
discovered the c Royal Papyrus of Turin? and the 
still greater carelessness of those who forwarded it 
to Europe, have dealt it the most fatal blow, and 
this inestimable treasure, from its having thus 
passed through unskilful hands, now only exists in 
minute fragments (164 in number), which for the 
most part it is impossible to put together. Incom- 
parable in value as it would be were it entire, the 
Turin papyrus has thus lost all credit, and it is 
seldom referred to in works treating of Egyptology. 
" 2. Another precious monument was removed 


from the Temple of Earnak by M. Prisse and pre- 
sented to the Imperial Library of Paris. This 
monument consists of a small chamber, on the 
wails of which is represented Thutmis HI. making 
offerings before the images of sixty-one of his pre- 
decessors ; whence it is called the * Hall of the An- 
cestors ' (Salle des Anc&tres). But here we have 
not to do with a regular uninterrupted series ; the 
monarch has made a choice from among his pre- 
decessors, and to them alone he pays homage. 
But what is the reason for this choice ? At first 
sight, then, the Hall of the Ancestors can only be 
regarded as an extract from the royal lists of 
Egypt. The person who has composed this list, 
from motives which we cannot fathom, has taken 
here and there some names of kings, sometimes 
accepting an entire dynasty, at other times alto- 
gether passing over long periods. It has further 
to be remarked that the artist to whom was confided 
the embellishment of the chamber has executed 
his work from an artistic point of view, without 
caring to place his figures in strictly chronological 
order. And in the last place, it must be mentioned 
that some lamentable mutilations — twelve names of 
kings are wanting — have partially deprived the 
Paris list of its importance. Hence it results that 


the Hall of the Ancestors does not afford to science 
all the assistance we had seemingly a right to expect 
from it. It has however rendered us the service of 
determining more precisely than any other list the 
names borne by the kings of the thirteenth dynasty. 
" 3. The Monument called the Table of Abydos 

has to be added to the series we are now enume- 
rating. As is indicated by its name, this monu- 
ment comes from Abydos, whence it was taken by 
M. Mimaut, Consul-General of France, and it is 

now among the treasures preserved in the British 

" In the whole archaeology of Egypt there is per- 
haps no monument more celebrated and yet so little 
deserving its reputation. It is here, Ramses II. 
who is paying homage to his ancestors. Originally 
the royal cartouches (not including those of the 
dedicator himself which are repeated twenty-eight 
times), were fifty in number, of which there only 
remain thirty, more or less complete. Then, the 
Table of Abydos, like the Hall of the Ancestors, 
offers us a list which is the result of a choice in- 
spired by motives unknown to us. There is also 
another cause which detracts from the scientific value 
which the Table of Abydos might otherwise possess : 
wc have not its commencement After the eight- 



eenth dynasty, this list passes without transition to 
the twelfth ; but to what dynasty are we to attach 
the fourteen unknown cartouches which the monu- 
ment places above the twelfth ? Do they belong 
to the most ancient royal families, or are they to be 
used for filling up a portion of the monumental 
break (vide) which we find between the sixth and 
the eleventh ? Consequently the Table of Abydos 
is not one of those authorities, such as the Papyrus 
of Turin might have been, which serve to lay a 
solid foundation-stone for science. No doubt when 
Egyptology was in its infancy it aided Champollion 
in his classification of the kings of the eighteenth 
dynasty. Later on it served Lepsius as a repire 
to place the Amenemhas and Ousertasens in their 
respective orders, and thus to identify these Mon- 
archs of Manetho's twelfth dynasty. But that is 
all, and it is not likely that the Table of Abydos 
will ever reveal to us any more of those secrets 
which so powerfully aid our studies." And in a 
footnote the learned author adds : " There exist at 
Abydos two temples raised to the local divinity, 
the first by Seti, and the other by Ramses. One 
and the same series of kings, twice repeated with- 
out any change, adorned these two temples. The 
one is the ' Table of Abydos ' of which I have just 


spoken : the other has recently been discovered by 
ourselves. This second table, which is the proto- 
type of the one in London, although in excellent 
preservation, adds very little to our knowledge. It 
makes known to us some new names of kings ; it 
confirms the dynastic classification of some others ; 
but it is still far from giving us a regular and con- 
secutive scries of all the Kings who have reigned 
over Egypt from Menes down to Seti." 

"4. The most complete and most interesting 
monument of this kind that we possess is the one 
resulting from our excavations at Saqqarah which 
now forms part of the Boulak Collection. This has 
not a royal origin as the others have. It was dis- 
covered in the tomb of an Egyptian priest, named 
Tunar-% who lived in the time of Ramses II. It 
was a point of Egyptian belief that one of the 
privileges reserved for the dead who had merited 
eternal life was to be admitted to the society of 
the kings. Tunar-i is here represented as entering 
into the august assembly, in which fifty-eight kings 
are present. But all the doubts raised by the Table 
of Abydos are revived here. Why these fifty-eight 
kings more than any others ? As long as this 
problem remains unsolved, the Table of Saqqarah 
can only possess a relative value for science. It 

V * 


must, however, be said that the list in the Boulak 
Museum has incontestable advantages over all the 
others. In the first place we know its commence- 
ment, and thus we possess a fixed jalon at the 
head of the list : secondly, between the jalon and 
the termination of the series, may be added here 
and there, by means of cartouches previously 
known and classified, certain other intermediate 
jalons, which give to the grand outlines of the 
whole a precision unknown to the other documents. 
By this means it is that, beyond the eighteenth, the 
twelfth, and the eleventh dynasties, we reach the 
six earliest dynasties, which, by an unlooked-for 
good fortune, we find on this Table almost as com- 
plete as they are in Manetho. The Table of Saq- 
qarah is therefore, at all events, an exceptional 
monument, to which we shall presently direct all 
our attention." 

"Such/* says the learned Egyptologist, "are the 
most celebrated Egyptian monuments which possess 
a general interest for history;" and these monu- 
ments, as it is manifest from his candid avowal, 
do not agree with the Manethonic dynastic lists. 
Why then are we to accept those chronicles of 
the Ptolemaic era, which have come down to us 
through such doubtful channels, in preference to 


the contemporaneous records of a " Ramses II.," a 
"Thutmis III./' and of a "Tunar-i living under 
Ramses II." ? 

M. Mariette adduces the lists on these monu- 
ments as proofs of the truth of the Manethonic 
lists. "The Table of Saqqarah," says he, "for- 
tunately comes to lend its support to the Egyptian 
annalist. That table being only able to give us a 
choice of sovereigns, we must not expect to find in 
it all the names that Manetho enumerates." Ought 
it not rather to be said that the simple fact of 
our not finding in it all the names that Manetho 
enumerates, affords a convincing proof that the 
Manethonic dynastic lists, whatever may be their 
real value, are no true chronological lists of the 
Sovereigns of Egypt ? 

For myself, I am assuredly disposed to give far 
more credence to the monuments of those early 

periods themselves than to the statements of the 
scribe of Sebcnnytris, whose writings, penned one 
thousand years after the assumed date of those 
monuments, have themselves only been handed 
down to us by a Byzantine monk who lived an- 
other thousand years after Manetho himself. 

My object in thus adverting to the general sub- 
ject of the history of Ancient Egypt, in which I 


should not otherwise have any special interest, 
is to show how little dependence is to be placed 
on the views generally entertained respecting the 
absolute character of that history and its chronology 
as opposed to those of the Hebrew Scriptures, and 
that the date of 5005 B.O., of 3893 b.c, or even of 
3059 B.a, for the commencement of the reign of 
Menes, the founder of the Egyptian Monarchy, ought 
by no means to be taken as irrevocably established. 
The monuments of the country themselves must 
always perform a highly important part in the 
reconstruction of its history. Those of the so- 
called Hyksos or Shepherd Kings, discovered by 
M. Mariette, have already thrown an intense light 
on that portion of it which is contemporaneous 
with the history of the Hebrew Pentateuch. The 
opinion advanced by me in my <« Origines Biblica, " 
forty years ago, that the Mitzraim of Scripture is 
not the Egypt of Profane History, is now shown 
to be substantially true ; namely, that the Mitzrites 
—of whose Sovereign the Patriarch Joseph was the 
Minister, under whom the Israelites were in bond- 
age, and from whose hands they were liberated by 
their inspired leader and legislator Moses — were not 
Egyptians, but a people of foreign extraction, of 
a type quite different from the Egyptians both 


ancient and modern, who invaded Egypt from the 
East, and held rule over its inhabitants during many 
centuries, and whose descendants exist at the pre- 
sent day in the extreme north-eastern portion of 
Lower Egypt, at Menzaleh and San — supposed to 
represent the ancient Tanis and the Zoan of 

As is stated in a pamphlet " A Few Words with 
Bishop Colenso on the Subject of the Exodus of 
the Israelites and the Position of Mount Sinai," 
published towards the close of 1862, when I was 
in Egypt in the beginning of that year (January 
27th), my attention was directed to the subject of 
these people by Dr. Schnepp, Secretary of the 
Egyptian Institute at Alexandria, who also referred 
me to an article by M. Mariette in the " Revue 
Archdologique " for February 1861, giving an ac- 
count of them, and describing some ancient statues 
of the same race dug up by him in that locality. 1 

I was then on my way back from Harran with 

1 See " A Few Words with Bishop Colenso," p. 13. 

These statues are figured in the " Revue Arch6ologique." A brief 
notice of them is given in the " Parthenon " of June 28, 1862. 
Some of the physical distinctions between the Mitzrites and the 
Egyptians were indicated by me in a paper " On the Complexion 
of the Ancient Egyptians/' published in the <# Transactions of the 
Royal Society of Literature," vol. iii. pp. 143-152, and reprinted 
in the "Philosophical Magazine," vol. xi. (1837), pp. 344-353. 


my wife, having for many years previously, as is 
related in my pamphlet " Mount Sinai a Volcano," 
paid no attention whatever to the object of the 
studies of my youth. But the instant Dr. Schnepp 
brought these interesting facts to my knowledge, I 
at once perceived and explained to him that these 
stranger people must be the representatives of the 
ancient Mitzrites, of whose existence as a nation 
distinct from the Egyptians, into whom they sub- 
sequently merged, and so became lost as a separate 
people, a memorial, independently of the Hebrew 
Scriptures, has been preserved in the legendary 


history of the Hyksos or Shepherd Kings. 

The account given by Herodotus of the cruelty 
of the builders of the Pyramids of Ghizah, Cheops, 
and Chephren has been imagined to allude to these 
Hyksos. He says, "Thus the affliction of Egypt 
endured for the space of one hundred and six years, 
during the whole of which time the temples were 
shut up and never opened. The Egyptians so detest 
the memory of these kings that they do not much 
like even to mention their names. Hence they com- 
monly call the Pyramids after Philition, a shepherd 
who at that time fed his flocks about the place." 1 

In a note on this passage my old friend, Sir 

1 Herodotus, lib. ii. c 128, Bawlinson's Trans. 


Gardner Wilkinson, 4 remarks, that " this can have 
no connection with the invasion or the memory of 
the Shepherd Kings, at least as founders of the 
Pyramids, which some have conjectured ; for these 
monuments were raised long before the rule of the 
Shepherd Kings in Egypt ; " and Professor Kawlin- 
son goes on to say,* " In the mind of the Egyptians 
two periods of oppression may have gradually come 
to be confounded, and they may have ascribed 
to the tyranny of the Shepherd Kings what in 
reality belonged to a far earlier time of misrule. 
It should not be forgotten that the Shepherds, 
whether Philistines, Hittites, or other Scyths, would 
at any rate ... be regarded by the Egyptians as 
Philistines. Hence, perhaps, the name of Pelusium 
(Philistine-town), applied to the last city which 
they held in Egypt." 

The builders of the Pyramids are considered to 
have been monarchs of Manetho's fourth native 
dynasty. But, as Professor Owen stated at the 
anniversary dinner of the Royal Geographical 
Society, on May 24, 1869, " Ethnologically we 
learn from sculptures and figures of the second, 
third, and fourth dynasties, exhumed by Mariette, 

1 This learned Egyptologist's decease has occurred since the 
above was written. 

2 Rawlinson's Herodotus, vol ii. p. 205 note. 


that the founders of such governed society in the 
fertile soil of Egypt were certainly not African, not 
Ethiopian, but Asiatic, with indications of a more 
northern origin than the Assyrian or the Hindoo ; " l 
that is to say, the builders of the Pyramids were 
not native Egyptians, but an exotic race, of " a more 
northern origin than the Assyrian or Hindoo," who 
invaded and occupied Lower Egypt long before the 
time of the Hyksos or Shepherd Kings. 

But in a paper on the Ethnology of Egypt, read 
at a meeting of the Anthropological Institute on 
June the 9th last, 2 by the same scholar since his 
return from Egypt, it was asserted that the study 
of the portrait sculptures discovered by Mariette 
Bey "led to the conclusion that three distinct types 
were indicated: first, the Primal Egyptian type, 
with no trace either of Negro op Arab ; secondly, 
the type of the conquering Shepherd Kings or Syro- 
Arabians, which is exemplified in the Abyssinian 
sculptures; thirdly, the Nubian Egyptian." This 
statement I cannot reconcile with the same scholar's 
exposition made five years previously, unless it be 
that the " Primal Egyptians " were an " Asiatic " 
people, with indications of a more northern origin 

1 See Beke's " Idol in Horeb," p. 41. 
1 Proceedings of the Anthropological Society, June 9, 1874. 



than the "Assyrian or the Hindoo." Doubtless 
when the paper itself is printed in extenso the 
matter will be rendered more intelligible than it is 
at present. 

Keverting to the history of the Hyksos or Shep- 
herd Kings, it has to be remarked that these in- 
vaders of Egypt were by Josephus imagined to be the 
children of Israel, 1 and the history of their expulsion 
from Egypt to be only another version of that of the 
Exodus. Nothing can, however, be more erron- 
eous than such a supposition ; and when the text 
of the Scripture narrative is properly translated and 
understood, it will be manifest that the history of 
the sojourn of the children of Israel in Mitzraim 
and among the Mitzrites is applicable to a different 
country and a different people. 

It has already been shown 3 that the Mitzraim of 
Scripture, the country into which the Patriarch 
Abram went down, and after him his grandson 
Jacob and his sons, may far more reasonably be 
assumed to have been a region adjoining the Negeb 
or South Country and the land of the Philistines 
than the more distant Egypt watered by the river 
Nile. That the inhabitants of that country, the 

1 Contra Apion, lib. i. cap. 26. 
* Chap. ii. pp. 49-5 1 of this work. 


Mitzrites, were not Egyptians, may be shown by 
the following considerations. 

The invasion of the Hyksos or Shepherds, whose 
remains have also been exhumed by M. Mariette, 
was described by Professor Owen, on the occasion 
just referred to, as having " introduced into Egypt 
the Arabian blood." — He now calls them Syro- 
Arabians, — and it is to them that Egypt was in- 
debted for the horse, as a beast of draught, inas- 
much as previously to this Philistine or Arabian 
invasion the manifold frescoes on the tombs of 
Egyptian worthies show no other soliped than the 
ass. The dromedary, he added, was a still later 

But we find numerous passages in the Hebrew 
Scriptures wherein mention is made of the horse in 
connection with the former country, 1 and we also 
learn therefrom that Mitzraim was from the earliest 
ages famous for its horses ; 9 whilst at a later date 
Solomon had those animals brought from thence ; * 
and in the reign of his successor, Shishak, King of 
Mitzraim, came up against Jerusalem " with twelve 
hundred chariots and threescore thousand horse- 
men ; " 4 and as regards the dromedary ("camel "), 

1 See Gen. 1. 9 ; Eiod. xiv. 6-9, &c. 
s See Deut. xvii. 16. 8 1 Kings x. 28, 29. 

4 2 Chron. xii. 3. 


this animal was perfectly well known in Mitzraim 

from the time of Abraham and Jacob. 1 

Had these animals been known in Egypt at that 

early period, they could not have failed to be 

depicted by the Egyptians in their hieroglyphs 

and frescoes, on which are represented every living 

creature with which those people were acquainted. 

It is therefore the veriest truism to affirm that 

Mitzraim, the country which possessed horses and 

dromedaries from the time of the Patriarchs, cannot 

possibly be the same country as Egypt, wherein 

those animals were unknown till a much later 


We have now to read the Hebrew Scriptures upon 

the assumption that the inhabitants of Mitzraim, 

the .country into which " Joseph was carried by 

the Midianites, were Hyksos or Shepherds, and not 

the Egyptians, as is usually imagined. a In the first 

place, we read 8 that Joseph was brought down to 

Mitzraim, and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, 

captain of the guard, a Mitzrite, bought him of the 

hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him 

1 Gen. xii. 16, xxxviL 25. This argument respecting the early 
existence of the horse and dromedary in Mitzraim, and their non- 
existence in Egypt, was employed by me in " Origines Biblicse," pp. 
200, 273, and "Vertheidigung gegen Dr. Paulus" (Leipz. 1836), p. 48. 

1 Mitzraim and Phiiistim, Manetho, Muces ! ! 

3 Qen. xxxix. 1. 


down thither." On this text the objection has been 
raised by Professor Lepsius that * " here, as in all 
other passages where the * Egyptian ' King is men- 
tioned, he is called Pharaoh : " and he adds, that, 
" This is an Egyptian designation, and not a 
Semitic one, as we should have expected if the 
Semitic Hyksos had still ruled in 'Egypt/ In 
that case we should have been everywhere com- 
pelled to admit, in this designation, throughout 
the history of Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses, 
an anachronism which cannot easily find a par- 
allel" Yet nothing is easier than to find such a 
seeming anachronism right before our eyes at the 
present day. 

Shortly before the commencement of the Chris- 
tian era the Celtic country of Gallia or Gaul was 
invaded, overrun, subjugated, and colonised by the 
Romans, from whom it received its institutions, 
its language, and pagan religion. Nearly five cen- 
turies after its conquest by Julius Caesar, Gallia 
was invaded by the German tribe of Franks under 
Phoramond, who took the place of the Romans, 
so that the Greek historian Procopius, writing in 
A.D. 550, could say of them, 2 "the Franks are on 

1 See Professor Lepeius's " Letters from Egypt, Ethiopia, and 
Mount Sinai," p. 476. 
1 De Bello Vandalico, i. 3. 


the frontiers of Italy ; they were formerly called 
Germans/' — who founded a monarchy, which, under 
various changes and several dynasties, may be said 
to have subsisted down to this day. But all these 
dynasties have been not of Gallic, but of German 
extraction ; whether the Merovingians, under whose 
rule Pagan Gaul became Christian France, the 
Carlovingians, who raised France to the highest 
rank in Western Christendom, or the Capetin- 
gians, descendants of Count Robert the Strong, the 
Maccabaeus of the West Frankish realm, the patri- 
arch of the old Capets, of the Valois, and of the 
Bourbons. 1 And so completely and incessantly do 
the descendants of the Frankish invaders of Gaul 
bear testimony to their German origin, that nine- 
teen French sovereigns have been named Louis, 
ten Charles, four Henry, and two Robert, all which 
honoured names, as is patent, are corrupted forms 
of the hated " barbarian " German designations 
Ludwig, Carl, Heinrich, and Rothbart. And it is 
a curious fact that at the present day the three 
aspirants to the throne of France all bear German 
names — Henri (Heinrich), Comte de Chambord; 
Robert (Rothbart), Comte de Paris ; and Louis 
(Ludwig) Napoleon. The origin of Robert the 

1 See Freeman's Historical Essays, p. 222. 


Strong is discussed by M. Mourin, and more fully 
by Dr. Kalckstein in his first Excursus. He was 
the son of the Saxon Wittikind, and the father of 
Odo, Count of Paris, whose son was Hugh Capet. 
Mr. Freeman tersely says, " The Count of Paris was 
merged in the Duke of the French, and the Duke 
of the French was soon merged in the King." 

This, then, is sufficient answer to the argument 
that, whatever may be our belief on other grounds, 1 
it would be impossible to combine with it the cir- 
cumstance that Joseph received from Pharaoh an 
"Egyptian" name. The like may be said with 
respect to the other "Egyptian" proper names 
occurring in the Hebrew Scriptures, such as 
"Pharaoh," "Eameses," "Pithom," "Asemeth," 
" Potiphorah," as having been used in Mitzraim. 

Dr. Lepsius next objects, that when the sons of 
Jacob spoke among themselves in the presence of 
Joseph of their conduct towards him, they spoke 
out loud in his presence ; and that " they knew not 
that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto 
them by an interpreter." * And hence he argues 
that " Joseph had become so completely an Egyp- 
tian, and the Egyptian language was so exclusively 
spoken at the court of Pharaoh, that the brethren 

1 Lepsius's Letters, p. 478. * Gen. xlii. 23. 


could not conjecture any one was near them who 
understood their language." l But, as it is replied 
in m) r "Origines Biblicae," in answer to the same 
objection on the part of other commentators ;* " the 
fact, appears to have been overlooked, that although 
Joseph's brethren knew not that he understood or 
overheard them, because the melitz (the interpreter or 
officer) was between them, yet as there is nothing 
in the Scriptural statement to lead to the sup- 
position that they spoke entirely apart from Joseph 
and the melitz, the latter individual it is evident 
must have both overheard and understood them, 
and they must consequently have been fully aware 
that by his report Joseph might be made acquainted 
with what they said, just in the same way as if he 
himself overheard them. Is not the following, how- 
ever,' the proper explanation of the transaction? 
Joseph, having resided in Mitzraim above twenty 
years, and having become a naturalised Mitzrite, 
may not have been known to foreigners otherwise 
than in the character of a native, and he may 
indeed have been desirous, as a matter of policy, 
that his foreign extraction should be concealed. 
Hence in his communications with his brethren, 
who came before him as natives of the adjoining 

1 Lepsiua's Letters, p. 479. 2 Origines Biblicra, pp. 247, 248. 


country of the Philistines, he may have thought fit 
to employ an interpreter to translate their rustic 
dialect of the south country into the more polished 
language of Mitzraim Proper; — for we may well 
imagine that, notwithstanding the common origin 
and closely intimate connection of the two tongues, 
they may each, when spoken, have been as unin- 
telligible to the natives of the other country, as we 
find instanced in so many of the cognate dialects 
of Modern Europe. But whilst the brothers thus 
spoke to Joseph through the interpreter in the 
language of the south country, they may also have 
conversed among themselves in the Aramitish 
tongue of the country in which they had been 
born ; and as they may have had reason to know 
that the interpreter was not acquainted with that 
language, so neither could they have had the 
slightest ground for imagining that Joseph, whom 
they looked upon as a native Mitzrite, would under- 
stand them, — since even for the purpose of commu- 
nicating with them in their adopted language of the 
south country he seemed to require an interpreter." 
Another objection is, that when, on their second 
visit to Joseph's house, his brethren were about to 
take their meal, it is said, " And they set on for 
him by himself, and for them by themselves, and 


for the ' Egyptians ' which did eat with him, by 
themselves : because the ' Egyptians ' might not eat 
bread with the Hebrews ; for that is an abomination 
unto the t Egyptians.' " 1 On which the learned 
Professor remarks, that " the native Egyptians 
could never have expressed this horror and regu- 
lated their manners accordingly, under the dominion 
of a Semetic reigning family " — that is to say, 
during the sovereignty of the Hyksos or Shepherd 
Bangs. And he further objects that " it is equally 
improbable that Joseph would have advised the 
immigrating family to call themselves shepherds in 
order to obtain from Pharaoh a country set apart 
for themselves. ' And it shall come to pass, when 
Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say, What is your 
occupation ? That ye shall say, Thy servants' trade 
hath been about cattle from our youth even until 
now, both we and also our fathers : that ye may 
dwell in the land of Goshen ; for every shepherd 
is an abomination unto the " Egyptians/ 1 ' * If the 
Shepherd people of the Hyksos reigned in Egypt, 
how could the shepherds have been an abomination 
to them?" 8 

This is precisely the question I myself asked long 

1 Gen. xliii. 32. 8 Gen. xlvi. 33, 34. 

3 Lepsius's Letters, p. 479. 


ago ; and have myself answered on more than one 
occasion, by showing that the word " abomination n 
used in this and in other passages in the Pentateuch, 
and elsewhere, is a mistranslation of the Hebrew 
word rQjnn (toebah). 

The word in question is derived from the root 
ny/l [ta'afe], of which Gesenius says in his Lexi- 
con (edit. Robinson, 1855), 'the primary idea 
seems to be to thrust forth or away, to drive 
away, and hence to reject, to abhor, to abomi- 
nate; 9 comparing it, however, with 2X1) [taab^ 
to which he gives the double meaning of 'to 
desire, to long after/ and 'to abominate, to 
abhor. 9 

But I conceive that the two roots are, in fact, 
identical — the gutteral y in the one being softened 
into N in the other — and that their primary mean- 
ing is not to thrust forth or away in a bad sense 
alone, but indefinitely to put away or aside, to 
set apart, to separate, either in a good or in a bad 
sense, and hence to dedicate or consecrate, and this 
too either for a good or for a bad purpose, as is so 
remarkably the case with the root Wlp [kadash"]. 

The Greek dpdOefm, the Latin sacer, the French 
sacri, and even the English sacred and devoted, 
have all this double meaning and application. 


These last two words are thus used together in a 
bad sense by Milton : 

« But to destruction sacred and devote. 1 

Paradise Lost, iii. 208. 

Consequently the primary meaning of the Hebrew 
noun-substantive to'ebah is a 'person or thing set 
apart,' belonging to a distinct class, and thus ap- 
propriated or dedicated to some special purpose, 
religious or otherwise; and when the expression 
came to acquire a more definite meaning, either in 
a good or a bad sense, the context was in each case 
sufficient to determine in which of those senses it 
was employed. The taboo of the South- Sea Islanders 
offers an exact parallel. It is taboo for the two 
sexes to eat together, just as it was to'ebah for the 
Mitzrites to eat with strangers (Gen. xliiL 32) ; 
and in like manner many persons, animals, and 
things are taboo, 1 as shepherds and goatherds, and 
their flocks were to'ebah. The resemblance of the 
two words to'ebah and taboo 9 I look on, however, as 
purely accidental. There is no sufficient reason to 
suppose the one to be derived from the other. 

The following note is made in Gesenius's Lexi- 
con on the word rQN, the meaning of which is to 

1 See note on Exodus xiiL 2, Bagster's Compr. Bible, and see 
the Greek dyi&fa. 


be witting, inclined, to desire: — 'In Arabic this 
verb has the sense to be unwilling, to refuse, to 
loathe, corresponding to the Hebrew i"QN *6. But 
this must not be regarded as a contrary significa- 
tion ; since the idea of inclining, which in Hebrew 
implies towards any one, expressing good- will, in 
German Zuneigung, is in Arabic merely referred 
to the opposite direction, i.e., from or against any 
one, expressing ill-will, in German Abneigung, i.e., 
aversion, loathing/ 

When, therefore, Joseph told his brethren to say 
to Pharaoh, ' Thy servants' trade hath been about 
cattle/ he did so not because every shepherd was 
" an abomination " unto the Mitzrites, which would 
have been an absurdity, but because among these 
people the shepherds formed a respected separate 
class — were taboo — were ' high caste/ as the Brah- 
mins are in India. 

In fact, there ought not to be any doubt as to 
the signification of the word. If the narrative of 
Joseph's presentation of his father and brethren to 
the King of Mitzraim be only regarded from a 
plain, common-sense point of view, independently 
of its traditional interpretation, it must convince 
even the most sceptical that the expression in ques- 
tion has been wrongly translated. 


The Hebrew slave Joseph, who has become the 
favourite Minister and Viceroy of the King of 
Mitzraim, causes his father and brethren to join 
him in the country of his adoption. Before intro- 
ducing them to his sovereign, he tells them that he 
shall represent them to him as shepherds ; and he 
desires them, when questioned, to confirm his state- 
ment. The reason he gives for this is, that among 
the Mitzrites ' every shepherd is to'ebah.' I know 
not how to translate this expression into English 
so as to retain the double meaning of the original ; 
but it may be rendered in Latin omnis pastor est 
sacer, and in French tout pasteur est sacri. 
Joseph's family do as they are directed. The King 
receives them most graciously, and says to his 
Minister : ' Thy father and thy brethren are come 
unto thee. The land of Mitzraim is before thee. In 
the best of the land make thy father and brethren 
to dwell ; in the land of Goshen let them dwell. 
And if thou knowest any men of activity among 
them, then make them rulers over my cattle.' x 

Now if the word toebah meant c an abomina- 
tion/ in like manner as the Latin sacer and the 
French sacrt might be understood to mean i ac- 
cursed,' and if the fact were that the Mitzrites 

1 Gen. xlvii. 5, 6. 


' held shepherds in the utmost contempt ' (which, 
however, is merely an assumption consequent on 
the received translation), is it consistent, is it at 
at all probable, is it indeed possible, morally speak- 
ing, that Joseph should so expressly, and seem- 
ingly so unnecessarily, have desired his father and 
brethren to volunteer the avowal that they be- 
longed to that despised and detested class ? And 
would the King have treated the nearest relatives 
of his favourite Minister in so contemptuous, so 
abominable a manner, and so disgraced that Minis- 
ter himself, as to employ them in such a degraded 
occupation ? 

But if the expression in question has the mean- 
ing for which I contend, in like manner as the 
Latin saeer and the French sacrS may mean 
1 sacred, 9 — if shepherds were a respected, separate, 
even if not sacred, class among the Mitzrites, were 
freemen, gentlemen, or nobles, according to our 
modern ideas, then the whole transaction becomes 
natural, consistent, and intelligible. Joseph de- 
signedly represented the occupation of his family 
to be such as would qualify them for admission 
into a select and superior class among the natives 
of the country, and the Monarch on his Minister's 
representation unhesitatingly recognised their right 



of admission ; and, further, in order to manifest 
his esteem for them, and to do them and his 
favourite himself the greater honour, he at once 
appointed some of them to have the charge of his 
own cattle, not as mere herdsmen, but in some 
such capacity as we may imagine to be equivalent 
to rangers of the royal parks and forests with us. 

Accepting this as being the meaning of the word 
to'ebah, and as establishing the fact that in the 
time of Joseph shepherds formed a select and supe- 
rior class in charge of the ' sacred ' animals of the 
Mitzrites, we may understand how, at the subse- 
quent period of the Exodus, when Pharaoh ordered 
the Israelites to sacrifice "in the land," Moses said, 1 
"It is not meet so to do; for we shall sacrifice 
the sacred animal [T animal sacrS, not le sacrS 
animal] of the Mitzrites to Jehovah our God : lo, 
shall we sacrifice the sacred animal of the Mitzrites 
before their eyes, and will they not stone us ? " 
The meaning of which indisputably is, that the 
animal which the Israelitish leader purposed sac- 
rificing — namely, a " lamb, ... a male of the first 
year, . . . taken out from the sheep or from the 
goats," 2 — was an object of special care and regard, 
even if not of worship, among the Mitzrites, under 

1 Exod. viil 25, 26. * Exod. xii. 3-5. 


the charge of a separate class of men ; sheep and 
goats being taboo, like their keepers. 

That at that early period these ' sacred ' animals 
were actually adored or worshipped by the Mitzrites 
may, however, be doubted. There is nothing in the 
Scripture history to warrant such an assumption, 
or even the belief that the Mitzrites were wor- 
shippers of animals or idolaters, like the ancient 
Egyptians. 1 [In a paper on the " Prometheus " of 
iEschylus, priuted in the " Transactions of the Royal 
Society of Literature," vol. ii. (xviii.) p. 385, Sir E. 
Coleridge unqualifiedly expresses the same opinion.] 
And therefore all that we are justified in concluding, 
and it is sufficient for the present purpose, is, that 
among the Mitzrites, Hyksos, or Shepherd Kings, 
shepherds and their flocks were, as is most natural, 
objects of regard and reverence, 2 and not * an 
abomination/ as the word to'ebah has been so 
erroneously supposed to mean. 

The statement recently made by Mr. Petherick, 
formerly British Consul at Khartum, respecting the 
regard in which the Dinkas tribes on the Upper 
Nile hold their cattle, is illustrative of what I con- 
ceive the custom of the Mitzrites to have been. 

1 See Origines Biblicse, p. 305. 

* In the »' Times" of the 25th inst. it is asserted that the volcano 
of Tongariro is regarded by the Maoris as tapu, or " sacred." 



Colonel Grant having attributed the superior 
physique of the Dinkas to that of the Shilluks to 
the fact of their "fattening themselves on their 
herds," Mr, Petherick replied, that though both 
tribes possess enormous herds of cattle, it is well 
known that "neither tribe will kill one of their 
herd for consumption. They will eat them after 
death from accident or natural causes, but will 
not kill them for food, no matter to what extremi- 
ties they may be put for want of nutriment." And 
as an instance of this, Mr. Petherick relates that 
while travelling through the Awan, a sub-Diuka 
tribe, he had bought a bullock, and having un- 
wittingly ordered it to be slaughtered before the 
Chief and his followers had quitted his temporary 
camp, he stood in imminent danger of an attack 
from the tribe for having insulted and degraded 
them by slaying the animal in their presence. 1 
Here there does not appear to be any idea among 
the Dinkas of worshipping the animals, the bodies 
of which they do not scruple to eat after death 
from accident or natural causes ; neither can they 
regard their lives as sacred, inasmuch as they sold 
one to Mr. Petherick ; but on his unwittingly hap- 
pening to slaughter the animal in their presence he 
exposed himself to a similar danger to that which 

1 The Times, July 15, 1874. 


Moses knew he and the Israelites would run were 
they to sacrifice — that is to say, slaughter for eat- 
ing — the toebah of the Mitzrites before their eyes. 

Though the Jews of later ages appear to have 
generally understood the expression in question in 
a bad sense, in which they have been followed by 
all Christian translators in deference to the Septua- 
gint Greek version, it is manifest, nevertheless, from 
the Targum of Onkelos, that such was not the una- 
nimous acceptation of the term even down to so 
late a period as the commencement of the Christian 
era; for the two texts above cited are thus ren- 
dered by that most learned Rabbi, as is shown in 
Mr. Etheridges English translation, The Tar gums 
of Onkelos and Jonathan, &c. : * because the 
Mizraee keep at a distance all shepherds of flocks/ 
which is almost precisely the primary meaning I 
attach to the root taab ; and ' because the animals 
which the Mizraee worship we shall take to sacri- 
fice/ which is the secondary meaning, in a good 
sense, for which I likewise contend. 

It is proper to explain that this highly important 
error in the Greek and other versions first presented 
itself to me on October 8th, 1833, as appears from 
an entry in my notebook under that date. In my 
work " Origines Biblicae," published in the following 


year, I merely alluded to the subject in a note in 
page 241, intending to discuss it in a second volume ; 
but the reception my work met with was such that I 
had no inducement to continue it. Nevertheless, 
two years afterwards, when answering an adverse 
critique in the Heidelberger Jahrbucher 9 from the 
pen of the late Dr. Paulus of Jena ( Vertheidigung, 
&c., pp. 45-47), I entered into the subject at some 

At that time, and indeed until quite recently, 
I did not know my interpretation of the word 
tdebah to be almost identical with that of Onkelos, 
or I should gladly have cited this venerable autho- 
rity in support of my argument for the radical dis- 
tinction between the Mitzrites, Hyksos, or Shep- 
herds, among whom the Israelites were in bondage, 
and the Egyptians of profane history, which distinc- 
tion M. Mariette's discovery of the remains of the 
former people has now demonstrated to be a fact. 

Twelve centuries after the date of the important 
event in the history of the progenitors of the 
Israelitish nation on which I have thus dwelt, 
the Father of profane history speaks of the Men- 
desians, who, occupying a portion of Lower Egypt 
in the direction of ancient Mitzraim, may not 
improbably have derived some of their usages 


from the natives of that country ; and he relates 
that they 1 'pay reverence to all goats, and 
more to the males than to the females,' adding, 
quite consistently, that ' the goat-herds who tend 
them receive greater honour. 9 At that time, how- 
ever, by the ordinary process of development, 
the religion of the Mendesians had become so 
debased and brutalized, that the he-goat, in the 
character of the god Pan, was the direct object 
of divine worship, or, to use the erroneous ex- 
pression of the Septuagint translators, was their 
' abomination.' 

From what has thus been said, it will be seen 
how little ground there is for Professor Lepsius's 
conclusion from the same premises. — " It is there- 
fore evident that Joseph lived at an Egyptian, and 
not a Semitic [Mitzritish] court ; the old tradition 
of the Jewish interpreters, that Joseph came to 
* Egypt ' in the reign of a Shepherd Bang, Apophis, 
is entirely destroyed, as well as the view taken 
by more modern scholars concerning the Hebrew 
chronology of that time." 2 The evidence from 
every quarter really is that Joseph came into Mitz- 
raim during the reign of a Shepherd King, and that 
he lived at a Mitzritish court. As to the proper 

1 Herodotus, ii. 46. 2 Lepsius's Letters, pp. 479, 480. 


««.. of the PWoh at who* court he lived, we 
«««« fir n,ore trustworthy teatuuoav tluu, w. at 
l~* po^e, to warraut u, in beUeviug it to have 


The further question as to the Pharaoh in whose 
r,.go the Exodus of the Israelites actually took 
place is attended with still greater difficulties. The 
supposition is that the « new king over Mitzraim 
who knew not Joseph," « in whose reign Moses was 
born, was of a different race from the Pharaoh 
whose Minister Joseph had been-was no longer a 
Shepherd King, is untenable, for the reason that 
the totbak, or the sacred animal of the people 
under whom the Israelites were in bondage, was 
the same as it had been when Joseph's brethren 
wow set apart by Pharaoh to be the "rulers over 
0«^ cattle."* 

Josophus attributes this notion to Manetho, and' 
give* some most distorted accounts of the Exodus, 
whioh he professes to repeat in the very words of 
the Ksyptian scribe. Even if confidence might be 
placed in the report of the Jewish historian, which, 
*vu,£ the manuer in which he himself manipulates 
the history, is exceedingly questionable, there are 


points bearing on the subject which are highly de- 
serving of consideration. 

The first is the facility with which the transfer of 
the name of Mitzraim to Egypt may have taken 
place, so that the traditions of the one country 
may, together with its name, have passed into and 
become incorporated with the national history of the 
other. We have an instance of this in the Eastern 
or Greek Empire, which acquired the denomination 
of the Western or Roman Empire ; the language 
of modern Greece being called, not ' Hellenic,' but 
1 Romaic ; ' and ' Roman ' ( f Pco/aoZo?), not ' Greek/ 
being the name by which, previously to the sepa- 
rate existence of the kingdom of the Hellenes, a 
Christian Greek distinguished himself from the 
Mohammedan inhabitants of his country. 

This confusion of names has led to a singular, and 
it may be most important result in Abyssinia. It 
is an historical fact, that in the fourth century that 
country received its first Christian missionaries from 
* Rome,' that is to say, from the Greek Church of 
Constantinople, or New Rome. At the present 
day the Roman Catholic missionaries in that coun- 
try represent themselves, truly enough, as coming 
from ' Rome,' — only in this case the name means 


Old Rome ; and as the Abyssinians have no very 
extensive geographical or historical knowledge, and 
as the Eomish priests, more politic than their pre- 
decessors in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, 
modify their ritual, and cloak if they do not actually 
modify their dogmas, so as not to offend native pre- 
judices, they are making steady progress in the 
diffusion of their faith, which the ignorant Abys- 
sinians are thus led to imagine to be that of the 
Fathers of their Church ; just in the same way as 
the Jews of Alexandria imagined their forefathers 
to have been in bondage in Egypt. 

And in the second place, the traditions and his- 
tories of the two countries having got mixed up 
together, we may perfectly understand that the 
scribes of Egypt might be disposed to give a 
favourable colour to events in the history of Mitz- 
raim as if they belonged to their own national his- 
tory. In what form they would have been likely 
to do this may be instanced by the native Burmese 
account of the British invasion and conquest of 
that country. 

Ritter in his "Erdkunde von Asien," Bd. 4, s. 270, 
2 7 1 , 2te Ausgabe, says, when speaking of the Burmese 
von oben lien, that the Political Lie is authori- 
tatively sanctioned among them. In the court 


chronicle, the historiographer gives the following 
account of the last English war : — " In the years 
1 186 and 1 187 (a.d. 1824 and 1825), the Kidapyu 
(i.e., the white strangers) from the west made war 
against the Master and Lord of the Golden House. 
They landed at Rangoon, which place they took as 
well as Prome. Owing to his clemency and good- 
ness, the king desired to spare human life, and 
therefore did not oppose them, so that the strangers 
were allowed to advance as far as Yandabu. They 
had, however, invested large sums of money in 
this expedition ; and when they reached Yandabu 
they found themselves in want and in great distress. 
They therefore implored the King to help them, 
and he, in his mercy generously sent them large 
sums of money to enable them to pay their debts, 
and he then commanded them to leave the country." 
On this Hitter remarks : " Such is their historical 
truthfulness, and from it we may judge the little 
value of their chronicles." But on the other hand, 
it has to be observed that the actual historical facts 
are stated : the landing of the British, their taking 
of Rangoon, their advance as far as Yandabu ; the 
payment to them of large sums of money, and their 
consequent departure from the country. It is the 
motives for their conduct that are falsely stated, 


whereby a totally untrue colour is given to the 
occurrences recorded. 

But, after all, there is nothing extraordinary in 
this. How seldom, even in Europe, is history writ- 
ten more accurately than we here see it written in 
Burmah. Too often, indeed, do we find the facts not 
merely misrepresented and distorted, but absolutely 
falsified ; as, for instance, in the war bulletins of the 
first Napoleon, and as in the rival reports of the 
opposing parties in the Spanish Carlist war of 1874, 
from which it is often impossible to decide on which 
side the advantage really is. 

I can only say that, under all the circumstances, 
it is fervently to be desired that some able Egypto- 
logist, possessing a full and intimate acquaintance 
with all the facts, will be bold enough to emanci- 
pate himself from the Manethonic trammels, and 
from the preconceived ideas which they have only 
served to render inveterate, and with the greater 
light we now possess, will impartially attempt to 
reconstruct the chronology and history of Ancient 
Egypt, and with it those of Ancient Mitzraim, as 
far as may be practicable upon a surer, more con- 
sistent, and more intelligible basis. I saw it an- 
nounced 1 that Dr. Samuel Birch of the British 

1 Athenaeum, June 20, 1874. 


Museum is writing a small popular History of 
Egypt for the Society for Promoting Christian 
Knowledge. It has to be seen how far this will 
meet the case. 1 

For myself, I have here to do with that ancient 
history so far only as it is connected with the 
Exodus of the Israelites ; and with respect to these 
points I think it may be taken to be sufficiently 
well established that the people among whom the 
Israelites were in bondage were the Mitzrites, 
Hyksos, and Shepherd Kings ; and further, that 
the new king over Mitzraim who knew not Joseph 
was of the same race as the Pharaoh whose Minister 
that Patriarch had been ; the country of those 
Mitzrites being situated to the east of Egypt Proper, 
and lying, as was suited to the habits of a shepherd 
people, beyond the limits of the periodical inunda- 
tions of the river Nile. 

These are postulates which must be accepted aa 
the basis on which the general history of the 
Exodus is to be reconstructed before we can hope 
to determine the particulars of that history in any 
manner at all satisfactory. 

1 This has since been published under the title of " Ancient His- 
tory from the Monuments of Egypt, from the Earliest Times to 
b.c. 300," 1875. 

( "4 ) 



When I had finally decided on setting out on my 
journey to the spot where I had calculated on 
finding Mount Sinai, in accordance with the views 
enunciated in my pamphlet " Mount Sinai a 
Volcano," written whilst I was resident at Nice 
during the preceding winter, and published shortly 
after my return to England in June 1873, ^ ^e- 
came necessary that, not being a geologist myself, 
I should find some qualified person to accompany 
me in that capacity. The task was not altogether 
an easy one. In the first instance, I addressed my- 
self to Professor Ramsay, the able Director of the 
Geological Survey of England, who was so good as 
to interest himself on my behalf, in the hope of 
being able to find some student of the School of 
Mines, who might be willing to accompany me on 
the terms I proposed, namely, that I should defray 
all his travelling and hotel expenses from the time 


we left England till our return ; but without other- 
wise remunerating him for his services. I also 
applied to several personal friends ; but all to no 
beneficial purpose, so that I had almost begun to 
fear I should not through private channels be able 
to find any one willing to agree to my terms, and I 
was thinking of advertising in the public journals, 
when, at the evening meeting of the Royal Geo- 
graphical Society, on November 3, 1873, I met 
Professor Tennant, who asked me a question re- 
specting a certain diamond about which there was 
formerly a scientific discussion at the British Associa- 
tion, but this subject I need not dwell on here. In 
the course of our conversation I mentioned to him 
that I was in search of a young geologist to accom- 
pany me on my journey to Mount Sinai, whereupon 
he at once said, that if the young friend who was 
standing by his side should feel inclined to go with 
me, he was the very man. This young friend was 
Mr. John Milne, whom he introduced to me as 
having only two days ago returned from Newfound- 
land, having previously been in Iceland. Of course 
there was no opportunity for saying much on the 
subject, but I stated briefly the scope of my expe- 
dition, and gave Mr. Milne a copy of my pamphlet 
[' Mount Sinai a Volcano '], which I had by me, 


and it was settled that if he should be disposed to 
accompany me, he was to write to me. Meanwhile, 
I ascertained from Mr. Tennant that his young 
friend was in every respect likely to suit me. He 
was for some time a pupil of his, and was a very fair 
mineralogist ; he had been a student of the School 
of Mines, of which he held a scholarship for this 
year and the next ; he was a tolerable draughtsman, 
and was generally well informed ; in fact, he spoke 
in the highest terms of him. On the following 
Thursday Mr. Milne wrote to me asking for further 
information relative to my projected trip, and this 
led to a meeting on the following Monday. As our 
negotiations did not progress very rapidly, and as 
his private affairs seemed likely to detain him in 
England longer than would suit my convenience, I 
proposed that I should start alone for Egypt, where 
I should necessarily be detained some time making 
arrangements for the further journey, and that he 
could join me there later on. 

Meanwhile my wife and I had agreed that she 
should pass the winter at Hastings, as she was in 
too weak health to accompany me as usual on my 
travels ; and I purposed taking her thither to see her 
settled before I left England, and therefore pro- 


posed not to return to London, but to start from 
Hastings direct for the Continent. 

This led to a final arrangement Mr. Milne ex- 
pressed his readiness to accompany me, and to start 
at once, on my agreeing to defray all his expenses 
out and home, and upon the understanding that 
his absence from England should not exceed three 
months. During the few days that we should yet 
remain in England, he was to attend at the house 
of the Royal Geographical Society in Savile Eow, 
to learn from Captain George, RN. (curator of the 
map room), 1 the use of his travelling mountain baro- 
meter, and other instruments, which the Council of 
the Society kindly lent me for use on my expedition. 

Having thus completed my arrangements, I went 
with my wife, on December 2, 1873, down to Hast- 
ings, where I saw her housed for the winter, and 
on the morning of the 8 th I left Hastings for 
Folkestone, where I had appointed Mr. Milne to 
meet me. On the way I travelled with a Colonel 
Gibbon, RE., with whom I had some interesting talk 
about Colonel Gordon, who had been engaged by 
the Khedive to take the place of Sir Samuel Baker 
in Upper Egypt Although I do not know Colonel 

1 This very courteous and able officer has since resigned his post 
at the Royal Geographical Society. 


Gordon personally, I should have had no hesitation 
in introducing myself to him. At the same time 
it was more en rdgle that I should have a personal 
introduction to him, and for this purpose Colonel 
Gibbon kindly gave me his card. 

But the continuation of the narrative of my 
journey will be given from my letters to my wife 
whilst on this memorable journey. 

December 8, 1873. — At Folkestone I met Mr. 
Milne, who came down from London by the boat- 
train, and we crossed over to Boulogne together, 
and proceeded direct to Paris, where we arrived in 
time for a late dinner. To write about our journey 
thus far may seem a work of supererogation, and yet 
it is always a satisfaction to be able say that it was 
pleasant. To me the condition of the sea is of no 
great consequence ; but to Mr. Milne, who is a very 
bad sailor, it was important that the weather, 
though cold, should have been remarkably fine, 
with the sea as smooth as glass. On the way 
to Paris we found it excessively cold, notwith- 
standing that we had the usual foot - warmers. 
Having seen but very little of my companion, 
Mr. Milne, in London, I could not be quite sure 
how we should get on together, but my first day's 
journey satisfied me that we should not do amiss, 
and after the completion of the journey I am happy 


to be able to record that I was not disappointed in 
my anticipation. 

Of course our principal topic of conversation 
was what I hoped to do and find where we were 
going. My pamphlet Mr. Milne had studied well, 
but there were still many points on which he was 
desirous of information, and this I was only too ready 
and willing to give him, so that our conversation 
did not flag; and as we were during the whole 
journey alone in the carriage, we could converse 
without restraint. In the course of conversation my 
companion showed me a book, which his friend Mr. 
Tennant had given him just before starting, namely, 
a copy of the "Travels" of Irby and Mangles, recently 
republished in Murray's Library. I knew the work, 
but had not had occasion to refer to it for very 
many years. On turning over the leaves, my atten- 
tion was riveted on a description of three volcanic 
peaks seen by the travellers on their way to Petra, 
at some distance on their left hand, seemingly on, or 
near to the Hadj route from Damascus to Mecca. Not 
having a map to refer to, I could not tell the precise 
position of these volcanoes ; but they would almost 
seem to correspond to the position which I attri- 
buted to the Harra Radjl& of the Arabian geogra- 
pher Yakut. If so, my work will soon be done : in fact, 



it is done for me beforehand. But without a map I 
cannot be sure, and there is always the danger of 
these volcanoes being too far to the north and east 
to suit the position which I attribute to Mount 
Sinai We shall see, Inshallah I 

Milne showed me a letter which Mr. Poulett 
Scrope l had writen to Mr. Woodward, of the British 
Museum, on the subject of the "burning bush" 
(Exod. iii. 2), which I thought might have been a 
volcanic exhalation — something of the nature of 
that figured by Professer Wetzstein in his " Keise- 
bericht liber Hauran und die Trachonen." Mr. 
Scrope is much interested in my expedition, and 
has suggested to me several important subjects of 
investigation on the spot. My suggestion respect- 
ing the " burning bush," has induced him to consult 
on the subject several of his scientific friends, espe- 
cially Mr. Woodward. I had suggested the pos- 
sibility that such appearances might be formed 
from the deposits from fumaroles ; but to this it is 
objected that they are rather due to the ebullition 
of the pasty superficial crust giving off gas, and 
bubbling up, so as to form those pillar-like masses 
seen on the lava basin of Kilauea, represented in Mr. 

1 I have to record, with regret, the death of this eminent geolo- 
gist, and generous supporter of Dr. Beke's expedition. 


Poulett Scrope's work on * Volcanos/ p. 476. Mr. 
Brigham, a missionary in Hawaii, describes the boil- 
ing up of the lava, which leaves, on cooling, the most 
fantastic forms. The fact that Dr. Wetzstein speaks 
of them as being "like black tongues of flame," 1 
would seem to show that these stick-like bodies 
are not composed of sulphur ; but this cannot be 
asserted for a certainty in the absence of specimens. 
Altogether there is plenty of room for speculation. 

December 9. — We did no more than sleep at 
Paris, starting this morning at eleven a.m. by the 
express train for Turin. Before leaving the capital 
of France I should have liked Mr. Milne to see 
something of it, had there been time. As it was, 
I could only suggest that whilst I went to pay a 
hurried visit to an acquaintance, he should go and 
see the Palace of the Tuileries, which, in its ruined 
state, is to my mind the sight most worth seeing 
in Paris on account of its associations. I cannot 
look on it without fancying to myself that I see 
one of the ruined buildings of Ancient Rome, as 
it was before the interstices between the columns 
were walled up, so as to turn it to modern uses. 

My companion had no such sentimental fancies. 
En vrai gSologue, he came back full of the fossils 

1 " Wie zlingelnde schwarze Flam men," ut sup. p. 7. 


he had observed in the stones of which the palace 
is built, which interested him far more than the 
building itself in its ruined condition. Travelling 
for five-and-twenty hours consecutively, we arrived 
the following day at noon at Turin, where we rested 
for the day, but would not sleep, because I deemed 
it better to go on the same evening after dinner to 
Milan, and have five hours more journey before 
going to bed, and then to rise as much later next 
morning, so as to catch the train for Venice at 9. 20 
a.m., instead of having to get up at Turin for the 
same train leaving that city at 4.40. Travelling 
in the early morning is much more uncomfortable 
than late in the evening : the getting up in the 
cold, and having to pack up, breakfast — and you 
are lucky if you can get it — and start in the dark, 
are things above all others to be avoided whenever 
it is practicable ; and it is anything but warm here 
in the North of Italy in the month of December. I 
wrote from here to Mr. Bolton to send me out a 
copy of the best map for my journey. 

An amusing episode occurred at Turin with a 
party of American females — I would not insult our 
Transatlantic cousins by calling them " ladies " — 
which, though it caused us some little annoyance at 
first, was in the result a source of much amusement 



to us, and will long continue to be so. Being rather 
behindhand at the station, we found most of the car- 
riages full, and had some difficulty in finding places. 
Seeing our position, the guard opened the door of 
one of the carriages, and desired us to get in. 
There seemed plenty of room in it, but as Milne 
and I attempted to get up, we were met by loud 
cries of "You shan't come in here." Thinking it 
might be a "ladies' carriage," we were for turning 
back, but the guard persisted in saying we were to 
get in ; and as we saw there was plenty of room, — 
there being only three females in a carriage holding 
eight, — we took our places, though most unwillingly, 
as one of those, whose fellow-travellers we were 
thus destined to be, placed herself in the middle of 
the carriage (where there is a division of the seats), 
and with her arms akimbo screamed out, " You 
shan't come here ! you shan't come here ! " I 
endeavoured to " tame the shrew " by assuring her 
that I had no wish to intrude on her and her 
companions, and I should have much preferred not 
to travel with them ; but she was not to be silenced : 
especially when, just as the train was going to start, 
the carriage door was opened and another male 
passenger was shown in. He was a respectable 
Piedmontese, apparently of the middle class, who 


did not know a word of English, and hearing this 
torrent of abuse poured out, seemed utterly scared, 
not knowing at all what it meant. He took his 
seat in silence by Milne's side, next to the door. I 
attempted a few words of explanation and apology, 
but I had hardly opened my mouth when our as- 
sailant exclaimed, " You need not speak Italian " — 
pronounced Eye-talian ! — " I understand what you 
say." Of course it was useless to take any notice of 
this, or of her continued abuse of us men for our 
ill manners in intruding our company on ladies. 
Interspersed with this, was her calling through the 
window to a companion, who had joined a party in 
another carriage, and who could not be induced to 
leave them ; not even to come to the " lunch " of 
which her friends with us were about to partake. 
It sounded strange to our English ears to hear the 
repeated cry at night, " Annie ! won't you come to 
your lunch ? Annie ! why don't you come to your 
lunch ? " And the absurdity of the expression made 
such an impression on us both, that during the 
remainder of our journey our usual call to meals 
was, " Annie ! won't you come to your lunch ? " 
We were most happy to part from our American 
cousins at Alessandria, they going on to Bologna 
and we to Milan. 


After a good night's rest at Milan, we left that 
city for Venice at 9.20 a.m. I had purposed call- 
ing on Mr. Kelly, Her Majesty's Vice-Consul, whose 
acquaintance, as you know, I had made when we 
were at Milan towards the end of 1872, and who 
lives in the Albergo Reale, where we put up for the 
night. But, as it was too late to call on him, espe- 
cially as he had arrived from Como only the previous 
evening, I contented myself with sending my card to 
his apartment, with " P. P. C, on his way to Mount 
Sinai." Just before we started, Mr. Kelly came 
down into the breakfast-room ; the omnibus, how- 
ever; being in the yard, and our luggage loaded on 
it, we had only time for a few friendly words. 

December 1 1. — We arrived at Venice at 4. 1 5 p.m. 
My first duty was to despatch a telegram to you 
announcing my safe arrival thus far; and then Milne 
and I took our luggage on board the Peninsular 
and Oriental Company's steamer " Simla," by which 
vessel I had secured our passage. We have a cabin 
of four berths to our two selves : it is considerably 
forward, being even with the fore-hatchway ; but 
this disadvantage is more than counterbalanced by 
our having it to ourselves ; besides, the cabins for- 
ward do not feel the motion of the screw. Having 
deposited our luggage in the cabin, we were not 


allowed to remain on board, but had to go on shore 
for the night. We therefore went to the Hotel 
Danieli, dined, and after dinner I went out with 
Milne to show him the ' lions '—those of St. Mark, 
as well as the others. For myself, I have been at 
Venice twice before, and I am besides so thoroughly 
blasS as regards mere sight-seeing, that I hardly 
think I would go ten steps to see the finest sight 
in the world. Yet I heartily enjoy witnessing the 
excitement of those to whom such sights are a 
novelty, and I do not altogether dislike acting as 
cicerone to young fellow-travellers, provided only 
that they are intelligent beings, and do not put my 
patience too much to the test by silly questions and 
remarks. Milne has never been on the Continent 
before, except for a day or two at St. Malo, in the 
time of the last Revolution, and the zest with which 
he views all the novelties among which he passes, 
is very refreshing and amusing. But the best of 
all is that his first thought is the mineralogical 
character of each object that presents itself to his 
sight. As in the case of the Tuileries, it is not 
the form, or age, or historical character of the 
buildings, so much as the stone of which it is 
built. It is the same with him all the way along ; 
it is not the landscape in which he is interested, 

AT SEA. 137 

but the character of the rocks. He will make me 
a geologist in time. 

At sea, past Ancona, 2 p.m., December 13, 
1873. — When we went on board last evening, the 
steward told us that the steamer would not start 
till noon. I was therefore in no hurry in the 
morning, but went out with Milne to show him the 
Piazza di San Marco. Still, not wishing to be 
behindhand, I thought it better to be on board 
soon after ten o'clock ; and well it was that I did 
so, for when we reached the steamer at 10.25 a.m., 
I found her, to my surprise, on the point of starting. 
The bill of health was already made out, with the 
number of passengers on board, &c. ! Our two 
names had to be added ; and as soon as this was 
done the health officers took their departure, and 
the vessel started. Another five minutes and we 
should have been too late. The stupid steward 
had misled us, and my stupidity was not less in 
allowing myself to be misled. Fortunately my 
usual nervous anxiety to be in time served me in 
good stead ; had I waited, as most people do, till 
nearly the last moment, so as still to have " plenty 
of time," I should have been too late. However, 
all's well that ends well. 

Thus far we have had a delightful passage, the sea 


being as smooth as when you and I went from 
Trieste in 1 86 1 on our way to Harran. We reached 
Ancona by midnight, and then took in cargo all 
night, which was not the best thing for a quiet 
night's rest. At 9. 30 in the morning we left An- 
cona, and we are now steaming and sailing before 
the wind at the rate of eleven knots an hour. The 
" Simla " is our old ship, which has been some fifteen 
or eighteen years in the Indian seas, and is now put 
on the Mediterranean service. With the exception 
of the officers, the ship has an Italian crew, now 
shipped at Venice. The English crew are on board 
as passengers to Alexandria* whence they will be 
sent home to Southampton via Gibraltar. They 
are a lazy, drunken, disobedient, insolent set, and 
the Peninsular and Oriental Company have wisely 
decided on having only Italians in their Mediter- 
ranean service. I have really nothing to tell you 
except that I continue quite well, and get on with 
Milne, who helps me just as a son might his father. 
Brindisij December 14, Sunday. — We arrived at 
about ten o'clock this morning after a wonderfully 
smooth passage, and are now busily taking in some 
300 tons of coal We were advised to spend the 
day on shore on account of the dirt and noise of 
coaling, and Milne did indeed land as soon as we 


arrived, but he did not remain long on shore, being 
quite disgusted with the place ; and no wonder, 
for it is, as you know, most uninteresting. Know- 
ing the place of old, I remained on board, writing a 
letter on the " three volcanoes " seen by Irby and 
Mangles, for insertion in the " Athenamm." I am 
sorry to say that our commander, Captain Evans, 
tells me that, on our arrival at Alexandria, we shall 
have forty-eight hours quarantine. This will be an 
unfortunate loss of time and money, for we shall 
have to pay for our keep on board during the two 

Milne proposes that whilst thus detained on 
board ship in the harbour, I should give a lecture 
on my intended journey, both by way of killing 
time, and also of amusing and instructing our fel- 
low-passengers. He has already spoken to Captain 
Evans on the subject, who thinks it a good plan, if 
I have no objection. Of course I have not, as 
little or no preparation will be necessary, I having 
merely to read selections from my pamphlet. Milne 
says that this giving lectures is usual on board 
American steamers, and that Professor Tyndall 
gave one going out, and another coming home. I 
think the plan an excellent one. 

And now about Captain Evans. He is your old 


friend, the captain of the " Alma," which took you 
your first voyage from Southampton to Alexandria 
in 1856 I He heard me last night talking about 
cholera in Mauritius, and so this morning he came 
and introduced himself to me. I thanked him 
heartily, as you may suppose, for all his kindness 
to you on that voyage. It so happens that at 
table we sit next to the Captain, as our cabins 
are in the forepart of the vessel, and therefore 
our seats at the table are not regulated by the 
position of our berths. Milne, when we came on 
board at Venice, chose an end seat, in order to 
provide for his having to run out of the saloon in 
the event of his feeling queer. Our seats turn out 
to be numbers two and three — the Captain, at the 
head of the table, being number one. Opposite we 
have a young man and his wife, apparently newly 
married, who are going out to India. Next to me 
is an old Scotchman named Williams, who knew my 
brother, Colonel William Beek, and his son, Charley, 
in Sicily. I do not feel at all well to-day, and be- 
sides have a nasty hang-nail on the forefinger of 
the left hand, which has obliged me to get the 
ship's surgeon to look at it. 

At sea, December 15. — We left Brindisi at 6.15 
a.m., the weather being even finer and the sea 

AT SEA. 141 

smoother than it was in the Adriatic. I tell 
Captain Evans that if you could have known we 
should have such a passage, you would have been 
almost tempted to have come with me. I wish 
you had ; only then how should we have managed 
about the expense ? My slight indisposition has 
passed over, and I am, in fact, all the better for it. 
A good many passengers came on board at Brindisi, 
so that we have now sixty-one first-class passengers 
and a lot of second class. We speak all the lan- 
guages of the Tower of Babel. 

December 16. — The weather is finer than ever. 
During the night I really thought we were not 
moving, my cabin being so far forward that in it 
the motion of the screw and its noise are not felt. 
Nothing new among the passengers, except that 
one of them is a Colonel Moggridge, of the Royal 
Engineers, with whom Milne became acquainted 
last year on their passage together to America. He 
came on board at Brindisi, and they have now re- 
newed their acquaintance. He is a brother officer 
and friend of Colonel Gordon's, and we at first 
thought he might be going out to join him, 
but Milne soon learned that he is going right 
through to India in quarantine ; that is to say, a 
special train takes the Indian mails and passengers 


across Egypt without communicating with anybody 
or anything on the road — the train from Alexandria 
to Suez no longer going through Cairo. On the 
voyage to Brindisi, and from thence hither, I have 
been studying the subject of the three volcanic 
peaks seen by Irby and Mangles, and I have em- 
bodied the results of my investigation in an article 
intended for insertion in the " Athenaeum." Milne 
i. . fcmou, prefer of my " gMpe l ; " perhaps I 
should rather say, an excellent jackal to my lion. 
He goes about talking with people about me and 
my expedition in a way I cannot, and could not do ; 
so that by this time the affair is known and talked 
about by all on board. But I have not fallen in 
with any one who takes a special interest in it. 

December 17. — Still lovely weather, and it is 
now getting warm. To-morrow morning we shall 
be at Alexandria, Inshallah I (Please God). In 
anticipation of our arrival, I have completed the 
following article for the " Athenaeum " : 1 — 

" During my journey from England I have been 
looking into the 'Travels in Egypt/ Ac., of Captains 
Irby and Mangles (Murray, 1868), which my com- 
panion, Mr. Milne, haa happened to bring with him— 
a work which I may possibly have seen in an earlier 

1 See AthensBum, 3d January 1 874. 


edition in years gone by, but of which I have no 
recollection — and to my surprise and delight I have 
lighted on the two passages which are here trans- 
cribed. The one is in page 115, 1 describing their 
departure from Gharundel, between Kerek and 
Petra, on the east side of the Ghor, the prolonga- 
tion of the valley of the Jordan south of the Dead 
Sea, where it is said, ' Our road was now south- 
west, and a white line in the desert, at a distance 
to the left, as far as the eye could reach, was pointed 
out as the hadj road to Mecca. We noticed three 
dark volcanic summits, very distinguishable from 
the sand. The lava that had streamed from them 
forms a sort of island in the plain. 9 And in the 
next page, on their arrival at Showbec or Shobek, 
they say, 'We had a most extensive view from here, 
comprising the whole skirts of the desert, with the 
volcanic hills which I have mentioned.' 

" As I have not a map here with me to which I 
might refer, I cannot comment, except in general 
terms, on the very important facts brought to my 
knowledge in the foregoing extracts. But from 
these it appears that the travellers, when taking a 
south-west course, saw to their left the road to 
Mecca, which, of course, bore south-east or there- 

1 Irby and Mangles' " Travels in Egypt," London, Murray, 1868. 

t44 r:sco i~ex r of mouxt sixal 

about*, whew it passed through Akaba-esh-Shami ; 
and from the white line of this road, stretching as 
far as the eye could reach, and the more distinct 
description of the dark volcanic summits, with 
their lava field, forming, as it were, an island in 
the plain, the legitimate inference is that the former 
is more distinct than the latter : that is to say, the 
volcanic region lies to the west of the hadj road 
running along the meridian of Akaba-esh-Shami, 
which is in 36 E. long. 

" In what parallel of latitude the same are to be 
placed depends on the distance the travellers were 
able to see, and this again will in part depend on 
the height of the volcanic summits and the state 
of the atmosphere. But it seems to be quite cer- 
tain that they must be situate at some distance to 
the south of the parallel of Petra and Ma'an, which 
is about 30 20' north, and that, therefore, they lie 
within the Harra Radjlk, of which the limits are 
pretty accurately determined by the reports of 
Burckhardt and Palgrave, the former of whom ap- 
pears to have skirted it on the east, and the latter 
on the north, as is shown in page 43 of my pam- 
phlet [' Mount Sinai a Volcano ']. It is within the 
range of possibility that Mount Sinai itself is one 
of these ' three volcanic summits * of Irby and 


Mangles ; but I doubt it, being rather of opinion 
that the mountain which 'burned with fire unto 
the midst of heaven * at the time of the delivery of 
the Law unto Moses, is a separate volcano, standing 
further to the south, but situate always within the 
same volcanic region as the other three, and form- 
ing part of the same chain of mountains of igneous 
origin. Under this view, the destruction of Korah, 
Dathan, and Abiram may have occurred some- 
where on the flank of one of these more northerly 
volcanoes. 1 

" In any case, the Harra RadjlA, of which Mount 
Sinai forms a part, appears to be now shut in by 
the Wady Arabah on the west, Palgrave's route 
through Ma'an on the north, and the hadj road 
between that town and Akaba-esh-Shami on the 
east ; and as on the south it must necessarily be 
limited by the road from the head of the Red Sea 
eastward, that is to say, from Akaba to Akaba- 
esh-Shami, there can be no serious difficulty in 
reaching Mount Sinai from Akaba by the way of 
Wady Ithem, the Etham of the Exodus, and as I 
hope to have it shortly in my power to do." 

3 p.m. — The weather is finer than ever, but being 
now in the open sea, the vessel rolls a little, though 

1 See " Mount Sinai a Volcano," p. 43. 


nothing of consequence. We have had a splendid 
passage, and expect to be at Alexandria by ten 
o'clock to-morrow morning, this being about 
seventy-six hours. You and I did it, you know, 
in seventy-two hours, but the old " Simla's " bottom 
is very foul, and her engines are not so good as 
they were once. Like myself, both she and they 
are not so young as they used to be. We have 
on board three Italian girls, second-class pas- 
sengers, who are said to be going to the Khedive's 
Hartm, to make dresses for His Highness's ladies. 
We have also a prima donna going to the theatre 
at Alexandria. I have not seen the lady, but I 
hear she has been singing in the cuddy. Last night 

I had a long talk with General H , who is going 

out to India. My friend Captain Burton was in 
his regiment, and we had a long talk about him. 
He says he is wonderfully clever, &c. My neighbour, 
Mr. Williams, was with Burton a few days ago in 
I stria, where they were travelling, which seems to 
be the reason why he did not answer my last 

December 18. — During the night the sea got 
rather rougher, and this morning we had the trays 
laid on the table for our plates. At tiffin the ship 
gave such a lurch that everything was sent flying ! 


However it got better as we neared the land, and 
by 2 p.m. we were in the harbour of Alexandria. 
I had a telegram announcing our safe arrival all 
ready, and sent it on shore in the purser's despatch- 
box, so that by this time (4 p.m.) it may have 
reached you — especially if we allow for the dif- 
ference of longitude. It costs thirty-one shillings, 
a good deal of money, but at all events you will 
know that I have arrived safely and in good 

We have sent off the India mails and some of the 
passengers' baggage. The rest, with the passengers 
themselves, will leave at 6 p.m. lliey cross Egypt 
in quarantine, as I told you before, not being 
allowed to leave the railway carriages during the 
whole journey, which will occupy at least ten 
hours. I do not envy them. In the harbour there 
is a nice little steamer belonging to the Khedive 
just come from the Red Sea. She is one of the 
two boats formerly belonging to the Peninsular and 
Oriental Steam Navigation Company — the " Vectis," 
the other being the " Valetta" — which used to carry 
the mails between Malta and Marseilles. I have 
made the passage in one of them : her companion 
was lost some time ago in the Red Sea. I should 
like much to have her to take me to Akaba : she 


is only nine hundred tons, and so would be quite 
big enough to carry me and all my suite ! There 
are several of the Khedive's steamers lying in the 
harbour doing nothing, and I am told that there 
are plenty more at Suez employed in the same 

It is not certain yet whether we shall have two 
days' quarantine. The Austrian Lloyd's boat, which 
arrived yesterday, has been admitted to pratique, 
and perhaps we may be to-morrow morning. Mean- 
while we have the yellow flag at the masthead, and 
a couple of guardiani on board to prevent com- 
munication with the shore. The weather is fine, 
but there is a strong wind blowing, which makes 
it very cold still. My finger is not quite well yet. 
We have been about seventy-nine hours on the 
voyage from Brindisi — eighty nominally, but we 
gain an hour on the longitude. The contract time 
is seventy-five hours, and we should have done it 
within the time, had it not been for a heavy cur- 
rent setting in against us. I have given Captain 
Evans my address at the London Institution, and 
invited him to call on me there, where he will be 
always sure to hear of me. He has promised to do 
so, but does not expect to be in England for some 
time to come. He only joined the " Simla" at Venice, 


having come overland from England, where he has 
been staying several months: he is now com- 
mander of the Peninsular and Oriental fleet You 
may imagine the confusion we are in; but we 
shall be quieter for a while as soon as the 
Indian passengers have left. Colonel Moggridge 
goes through to Hong-Kong: he is much inte- 
rested in my pamphlet, and has commissioned 
Milne to send him a copy of my work as soon as 
it is published. The passengers all left the ship at 
5.30 p.m. to go by the six o'clock train. 

December 19. — During the night we had a regu- 
lar storm, the rain falling in torrents. This morn- 
ing it is fine again ; but a strong north-west wind 
is blowing, and it is very cold. This is rather 
different weather to that you and I used to expe- 
rience in Egypt in former years. Fortunately we 
got in as we did yesterday afternoon, as otherwise 
we should have had to lie off the harbour ; for in 
this weather it would have been impossible to enter 
the port. 1 Before breakfast the health officer came 
on board to inspect us, and we had all to pass be- 
fore him. It was a mere form, or rather a mere 
farce, for several of the passengers never presented 

1 A scheme is now on foot for the improvement of the entrance 
to the harbour, whereby vessels will be enabled to enter the port in 
all weathers. 


themselves ! But we shall have to remain on board 
till two o'clock to-morrow (Saturday) afternoon, 
and so I fear I shall not be able to do anything in 
the way of business till Monday morniflg, which 
will be another great loss of time and money. 
Pazienza ! 

1 hear that the Peninsular and Oriental Company 
have a small steamer, the " Timsah," lying at Suez 
doing nothing. She is of about four hundred tons, 
aud was sent out to tug the Company's large steamers 
through the Canal ; but they find that the tonnage 
on her would cost too much, so that she is not 
used for the purpose intended. She would be the 
very ship for me, if I could but get her ; tljat is, 
supposing the Khedive will not assist me ; but I 
trust he will. They say he is very hard up for 
money, having been able to raise only five or six 
millions of the loan of thirty millions he is in want 
of. If only he could be persuaded to help me 1 
Perhaps he may do so in the hope that it will tell 
in England. 

2 p.m. — We have now been half our time in the 
harbour : the weather is still very dirty, but I 
think the worst is over, and that we shall have fine 
weather to-morrow to land in. We have a Dutch 
artist on board — a M. Van Elven — who is painting 


veiws of the ships in the harbour. I wish it were 
in my power to take him with me. My contem- 
plated lecture is not spoken of. The fact is, that 
most of our English passengers have left the ship 
and gone on to India. Those who remain, however 
respectable they may be in themselves, are but a 
mongrel set — Germans, French, Italians, &c, who 
do not much care for such things. This stopping 
on board is most tedious, there being nothing to do 
but to walk about and chat on indifferent subjects. 
The Khedive, I hear, gives general dissatisfaction. 
He spends money like water, and oppresses every- 
body. They talk of his reign coming soon to an end. 
I hope, however, this may not be just yet. 

I have been chatting with M. Van Elven, who 
tells me he is established in Paris, and is now going 
to Beirut and Damascus : so I recommended him to 
go on to Harran, which place I told him we visited 
in 1 86 1, and identified as the Haran of Scripture, 
the resideuce of the Patriarch Abraham ; and that 
Mrs. Beke had published a narrative of the journey 
in 1865, entitled " Jacob's Flight ; or, A Pilgrimage 
to Harran, and thence in the Patriarch's Footsteps 
into the Promised Land." 1 He said he would make 
a point of going there. I then spoke to him about 

1 Published by Longmans & Co., London. 


my present journey in search of the true Mount 
Sinai, and he seems a good deal interested in it, 
and half inclined to go with me. He says he was 
in Egypt a few years ago, and painted several 
pictures for the Viceroy, by whom he was d6cor$. 
He gave me his card* It would be a great thing 
to have such a person with me ; but this is build- 
ing castles in the air : however, just now there is 
nothing better to do. The weather still continues 
bad ; but I don't think the wind is quite so strong : 
I trust it will be better to-morrow, or else we shall 
get a wetting going on shore. 

December 20. — The weather is still so bad that 
the passengers have signed a round- robin asking 
for the Peninsular and Oriental Company's steam- 
tug to take them on shore. The captain was equal 
to the occasion, having already sent for it I I told 
him that they are really the P. and 0. Company — 
the " Polite and Obliging." Yesterday a Bengal 
officer — Colonel Kobert Morrieson — borrowed my 
pamphlet, "Mount Sinai a Volcano," and was en- 
gaged all day reading it and making notes. This 
morning he came to me, and said he was so pleased 
with it, that he was ready to give ten napoleons 
towards the expenses of the expedition. This offer 
was quite voluntary on his part, as we had not 


spoken a word together, except on general subjects, 
during the voyage — it having been Milne, in fact, 
who lent him the pamphlet. Colonel Morrieson has 
passed it on to an American artist named Wallin, I 
believe, who has come to Egypt for the purpose of 
sketching, accompanied by a Mr. White, who is said 
to be an American historical painter of eminence. 
Mr. Wallin has been here before. He speaks as if he 
were inclined to join my expedition, on account of 
its opening a new field to him. I was thinking of 
going to the Hotel du Nil at Cairo, but Colonel 
Morrieson advised me not to do so, as he says I 
ought to be among the tourists, some of whom 
might be inclined to join me. He himself is going 
to the New Hotel, and suggests that I should do 
the same ; the difference of expense, eight shillings 
per diem — sixteen shillings twice told — instead of 
twelve, is a consideration. Still, his suggestion is 
a good one and deserving of consideration, espe- 
cially as coming from one whose generous contribu- 
tion will enable me to bear the extra expense. 

As the day advanced it got more stormy, so that 
there was no possibility of landing in small boats : 
therefore, at three o'clock, the steam-tug came 
alongside, and took us all and our baggage on shore. 
Before leaving the ship, for fear of accidents, I 


gave my letter for England to the purser to put in 
the letter-box, though there is little doubt of my 
being able to write after landing. On reaching the 
shore, we were subjected to far more formalities than 
on former occasions, having to deliver up our pass- 
ports at the Passport Office, whence they will be 
taken to the British Consulate, where we are to go 
for them on Monday. 

We did not reach the hotel (Abbat's) till half- 
past four o'clock, and as soon as we had seen our 
rooms, I went out to look about me, it being too 
late in the day for any business to be done. Find- 
ing, however, the office of the Austrian Lloyd's 
open, I looked in on my old friend Signor Battisti, 
who was very glad to see me, and with whom I 
had a long talk about my affairs. He told me that 
the chief of Oppenheim's house here, Mr. Jacques 
Oppenheim, our friend Mr. Henry Oppenheim's 
cousin, is at Cairo, but a younger brother of his, 
Sebastian, is here in Alexandria. Just now the 
firm does not stand so well with the Khddive, in 
consequence of the failure of his last loan ; but they 
are trying to get him some more money, and so 
may soon be in favour with him again. Signor 
Battisti did not see any difficulty in the way of my 
getting a steamer from the Khedive, only he says 


he thinks I shall have to make my application 
through General Stanton. This I doubt much, as 
I do not expect I shall be likely to obtain any 
more assistance from Her Majesty's representative 
here, than I obtained from Her Majesty's Govern- 
ment at home, Lord Enfield having written to me 
from the Foreign Office, on the 7th November 
1873, the folio wing letter: — "In reply to your 
letter of the 5th instant, requesting letters of intro- 
duction to Her Majesty's agent and Consul-General 
in Egypt, and to Her Majesty's Consul at Jerusa- 
lem, directing these gentlemen to use their friendly 
offices with the local Governments, so as to secure to 
you their protection and assistance, in case of need, 
on the journey you are about to undertake into 
Arabia Petrsea, I am directed by His Lordship (Lord 
Granville) to acquaint you that he cannot issue in- 
structions to Mr. Vivian and Mr Moore to ask for 
facilities on your behalf which are not granted to 
other travellers ; but his Lordship does not doubt that 
you will receive from these officers all the assistance 
which they can properly afford." 

I could not stay long with Battisti, as he was 
busy with the Austrian Lloyd's steamer, which 
leaves early on Monday morning. So I took 
leave and went to the post-office, to see whether 


there were any letters for Milne. The office was 
shut up, but the clerk, who is always very civil 
here, looked for them, but there were none. It 
was now five o'clock, and all the offices were closed 
or closing, so that nothing more was to be done 
to-day. It is a great pity; however, I must see 
what can be done to-morrow morning before 

( 157 ) 



December 21. — This morning after breakfast my 
first task was to call on Messrs. Tod, Rathbone, & 
Co., where I saw Mr. Mtiller, and also his partner, 
Mr. Kay, whose acquaintance I made one day in 
the city when I called on my friend Mr. Tod. 
I had a chat with them, but not very long, on ac- 
count of their being busy with the post (though 
Sunday), the " Simla " leaving to-morrow morning 
for Brindisi with the mails. From there I went to 
church, and after the service, Milne and I went, 
on Mr. Kay's invitation, to dine with him and Mr. 
Kay at Ramleh, a suburb about five miles from 
Alexandria, where most of the merchants now live, 
instead of along the Canal, where they formerly did. 
There is a railway to it, the fare being one franc 
fifty cents each way. Mr. Kay is a very intelli- 
gent man, and we passed a very agreeable after- 
noon together. We met there a clever young 
architect, a Mr. Clarke, who has come to Egypt 

156 DISCO VMi: Y 

there were any letter 
shut up, but the cler 
here, looked for then 
was now five o'clock, t 
or closing, so that nc 
to-day. It is a great 
what can be done 


e clearly that it ■will require a good 
knee and management, and that I 
in too great hurry, lest I make a false 

engaged on business, my companion 

and amuses himself as well as he 

■ it a very difficult matter, as he has 

I>efore, and everything is new and 

m. I cannot take him on my 

when Mr. Kay asked me to go> 

iitroduced Milne to him as being 

once kindly invited him. Be- 

scrvice to me, for by this time 

ni," and can talk for me when 

does talk too 1 

'>;it's hotel is very much en- 
ince you were here in 1866. 
nide Place to the Place de 
el stands, is now called 
is well paved and lighted, 
planted with trees. The 
! lighted ; but the- streets 


anything but warm. A fe w days before I left England 
I wrote to Mr. H. Oppenheim, whose acquaintance 
you and I made several years ago at dinner at our 
friend's Mr. J. Tod's, when, you will recollect, it was 
proposed I should join the Egyptian Trading Com- 
pany, in the establishment of which I had been so 
deeply interested. In my letter I told him what I 
wanted of the Khddive, and asked him to write to 
his partners or managers here, desiring them to 
exert their influence with His Highness on my 
behalf. In reply he told me he had written to his 
house in Egypt, as requested, and had no doubt 
they would be able to obtain what I desired. At 
the same time he kindly favoured me with a letter 
of introduction to them. This morning, then, my 
first duty was to call on Messrs. Oppenheim. I 
saw Mr. L. and Mr. S. 0., to whom I presented my 
letter of introduction. They were both very civil, 
but said they had no power to move in the busi- 
ness, which was that of the house at Cairo, where 
whatever is to be done will be done, and whither 
they had accordingly forwarded Mr. H. O.'s letter. 
My letter of introduction was in like manner 
returned to me in order that I might present it to 
Mr. B. at Cairo. 

From Messrs. Oppeuheim's I went to the British 


Consulate for my passport, and saw Mr. Stanley 
the Consul, who was very kind and obliging to 
you and me on our last visit to Alexandria, and 
who was equally so to me on the present occasion. 
He gave me a pass at the Custom House for 
my things when they arrive, which I handed 
over to Mr. Kay, as I do not intend to remain 
here. At the Bank of Egypt I cashed two cir- 
cular notes, receiving for them a fraction over 
five hundred francs ; and then I called on Colonel 
Morrieson, who had called yesterday on me at the 
hotel whilst I was at church, and who now kindly 
gave me his subscription of two hundred francs. 

In the afternoon, after luncheon, I went and 
called on General Stanton, who received me ex- 
tremely cordially as an old acquaintance, asking 
after you very kindly, &c. He said he had seen 
me in church yesterday, though I did not see him. 
He starts for Cairo to-morrow, and was of course 
very busy ; but he begged me not to hurry away, 
and talked with me some little time of things in 
general, and of my expedition in particular. I 
gave him a copy of my pamphlet, which he pro- 
mised to look at on his way to Cairo. We did not 
come to the point — in fact, there was no time ; but 
he seemed very favourably disposed towards me, 



and on the subjects on which we spoke together he 
took care to let me see that we were quite cP accord. 
On one important point he asked my advice, 
namely, as to the putting down of slavery on the 
Bahr el Ghazal, the western arm of the Nile. On 
this subject I came out strong with my notions of 
flooding the Libyan Desert, and so gaining a road 
to the interior, to which he listened with attention 
and interest I shall go in for this at Cairo, as it 
is a most important matter. General Stanton 
was obliged to leave me in order to go and finish 
his packing; indeed, he was called away by the 
men who were doing up the cases. He said he 
hoped to see me in Cairo ; expressed his regret that 
he could not invite me for Christmas Day, as he 
will not be installed in his new house. Altogether 
I have reason to be satisfied with my reception, 
and augur favourably from it If our Foreign 
Secretary has not written to him in my favour, at 
all events he has not written in disfavour. I should 
not be surprised if the General has been told to 
help me officiously. 

After leaving General Stanton, I called on Dr. 
Mackie, Dr. Ogilvie % s partner, whom I asked to call 
on me this evening before I went to bed, to look at 
my foot* which has gv>t a good deal inflamed. When 
I was with Signor Battisti we spoke of Fedrigo 


Pasha, who was formerly a captain of one of the 
Austrian Lloyd's steamers, with whom I made the 
passage from Alexandria to Trieste in 1854. He 
is now an Admiral in the Khedive's Navy. He is 
a very good fellow, just as simple and unassuming 
as in past years, and Battisti says he will be de- 
lighted to see me, and he might also be of use to 
me. On my calling on Mr. Robert Fleming, Mr. 
Alexander Tod's nephew and former partner, and 
a friend of mine, he also spoke highly of Fedrigo 
Pasha, and gave me a few lines to him, and like- 
wise to McKillop Bey, 1 director of harbours and 
lighthouses, a warm-hearted British tar (he is a 
captain in the Royal Navy), and a regular pusher 
if only he takes a thing up. Not wishing to lose 
this chance, I called twice on Fedrigo Pasha, but 
could not see him, and as I intended leaving for 
Cairo to-morrow, I was obliged to content myself 
with leaving my card and Mr. Fleming's letter. 
The latter recommends me by all means to go to 
Shepheard's, and not to the New Hotel, which is 
but little frequented by English tourists, among 
whom it is my object to make my expedition 
known, and of whom, he says, I shall see more in 
one day at the former, than in a month at the 
latter. I had pretty well made up my mind to 

1 Since created a Pasha. 


this before. The expense is the same at both, 
namely, sixteen shillings per day. 

It is very fortunate that we got into port as we 
did on Saturday afternoon, for the storm was more 
violent than has been known here for many years. 
There was a small schooner wrecked in the eastern 
harbour, into which it had entered by mistake, and 
one man was drowned ; the rest being saved from 
the shore. In the evening, after asking Milne, who 
had just come in from witnessing an Arab wed- 
ding procession, to take my letters to the English 
post-office, I got ready to receive Dr. Mackie 
when he came to see my leg. I was sitting in 
my dressing-gown awaiting his arrival, when the 
waiter came to say Fedrigo Pasha was down-stairs 
at dinner, and would be glad to see me. So I had 
to dress myself and go down. He was in a 
private room, dining with a Greek gentleman. My 
card and letter had only been given to him after he 
had sat down to dinner. Of course I took no dinner, 
as I had dined ; but when the dessert came, I ate 
a couple of bananas and drank a glass of wine, and 
then we had coffee and cigars. He received me in 
the most friendly way. Some men assume high 
manners with high titles, but Fedrigo was, as 
Battisti told me, just the same as when I knew him 


twenty years ago a captain in the Austrian Lloyd's 
trading service. He is a very simple-minded 
man, and has the character of being thoroughly 
honest and straightforward — rare qualities in these 
countries. His wife, who is lately dead, was an 
Englishwoman, and he has lived a good deal in 
England, where he went to superintend the build- 
ing of some of the Viceroy's steamers. Whilst 
sitting at table in company with the Greek, we 
could only converse on general subjects ; but when 
Dr. Mackie was announced, I took Fedrigo apart, 
and had a few minutes' private talk with him. He 
said that the two persons possessing the most influ- 
ence with the Viceroy are Nubar Pasha, the Foreign, 
and Ismail Pasha the Finance Minister. The for- 
mer is a highly accomplished Armenian Christian. 
He is the man for me to make interest with, and 
this I can do through General Stanton. If he 
will not speak to him himself, he could at least 
give me an introduction to him. The General 
stands well with the court, and a word from him 
would settle the matter. From what I gather 
from all this, it is quite clear to me that without 
General Stanton's help or countenance, I am not 
likely to do much, if anything at all, with the 
Khedive. We shall see how things go on at Cairo. 


The conversation with the Greek was a curious 
one. From Mount Sinai it turned on various sub- 
jects, and at length on the meaning of the word 
f Christ,' which he said was derived from xfwprw, 
* good ' — the old error explained and confuted in my 
work "Jesus the Messiah " (p. 63). 1 Of course I was 
at home here, and came out very strong. Fedrigo 
said very little on the subject, but opened his eyes 
very wide. I fancy I left them both impressed 
with a profound conviction of my immense learn- 
ing 1 Dr. Mackie examined my ankle, which he 
found a good deal irritated, and prescribed a lotion 
for it, so that I hope it will soon be all right again. 
He stayed with me till eleven o'clock chatting, 
and would not accept a fee. 

Cairo, December 23. — We left Alexandria at 
9.50 a.m., and arrived at Shepheard's Hotel at 
4.30 p.m. It was a delightful day. The country 
is so wonderfully improved since we were here in 
1 866, that one would scarcely fancy one's self in 
Egypt. I shall say nothing about the journey, as 
I think I will write an article about it to the 
" Athenaeum." Cairo too, you would not know, 
so much is it altered for the better : the hotel is 
also vastly improved. The manager, Mr. Gross, 

1 Published by TrUbner & Co., 1872. 



knew me again, and so did some of the waiters ; 
thus I am quite at home. Before dinner, Milne 
and I went out to have a look at the New Hotel ; 
it is a splendid building, which will cut Shepheard's 
out by and by ; but at present the visitors there 
seem principally foreigners. Shepheard's is still the 
headquarters of the English and Americans, and 
I think I did quite right in coming here ; but the 
expense is dreadful : two pounds a day will barely 
cover it. However, it would be the same at the 
New Hotel, and I am convinced it would not do 
for me to go to the Hotel du Nil. The Esbe- 
kiah (square) garden in front of our hotel is 
beautifully laid out now, and there was a band 
of music playing. Fancy our being received with 
Auber's 'Dame Blanche,' which they began playing 
when we entered the gardens ! 

After dinner I made the acquaintance of Mr. 
Rowlatt, the manager of the Bank of Egypt at 
Alexandria, who happened to be here. He was 
very friendly, and introduced me to Mr. Holt, the 
Cairo manager. He recommended me to send my 
draft on the Paymaster-General home, as he could 
not cash it except at a loss of two per cent. ; so I 
must do so when the time comes, and you must 
send me circular notes. Mr. Rowlatt is of the same 



opinion as my friends in Alexandria, which is, that 
General Stanton is the only man to assist me, if 
he ivill. I called at Cook's the Tourist's office ; but 
Mr. John Cook was not in. I shall call on him 
again to-morrow morning, as he is leaving in the 
evening for England. 

December 24. — Mr. Cook will not be here till 
late this evening, and he does not leave till Satur- 
day. I called this morning on Mr. Beyerld and Mr. 
Jacques Oppenheim : they received me extremely 
well, and entered at once into my plans, about 
which Mr. Henry Oppenheim had written to them. 
Mr. Beyerl£ said that the business must be done 
through Nubar Pasha, to whom he would introduce 
me. He said he was going to see his Excellency 
this morning, and would speak to him about me, 
and ask him to let me have an audience to-morrow. 
The result he would let me know this evening ; and 
if all was right, he would call for me to-morrow, 
and take me with him. They seemed to take it as 
a matter of course, appearing to have no misgivings 
— at least, so it struck me. But Mr. Beyerld told 
me it might be a matter of some little time, as his 
Highness is unwell just now, so much so as not to 
be able to see even his Ministers. 

On my way to Messrs. Oppenheim, I called on 


our friend Mr. Rogers, who lives next door but one 
to Shepheard's Hotel. He returned home last night 
from his trip up the Nile, and was gone out riding; 
so I left my card. But here a most curious thing 
occurred. The person to whom I spoke in the 
courtyard of the Consulate, was a large, portly, 
well-dressed native, a Syrian, whom I took for the 
Consul's dragoman, or something of the sort. 

He asked me if I knew the Consul, how long I had 
been here, where I had made Mr. Rogers's acquaint- 
ance, &c, speaking in very good English ; and then, 
on my telling him, as if recognising me, he asked 
who was my dragoman ? On my mentioning Mikhail 
Henfs name, he asked whether I had ever been 
at Shechem (Nablus), and to the Samaritan syna- 
gogue ; to which I replied, Yes, I had, and that I 
had reason to remember it, for that I had tumbled 
down the steps ; whereupon he exclaimed, " Give 
me your hand, sir : you are the gentleman to whom 
I gave some brandy after your fall." You may 
imagine my surprise at hearing this. I learned 
afterwards from Mr. Rogers that he is YakAb esh 
Shellaby (-jJulM <—y*))> the head of the Samari- 
tan community, who is come here on a visit 
to him ! Of course we had a long chat to- 
gether, and on my telling him I was going in 


search of the true Mount Sinai, he said he would 
go with me ; to which, of course, I replied, Inshal- 
lah I But, seriously speaking, he would not make 
a bad dragoman. Rogers tells me he is a highly re- 
spectable man. It would be a curious thing if, sup- 
ported by the Jews, and accompanied by the chief 
of the Samaritans, I went to correct the error of the 
Christian tradition respecting the position of the 
Mountain of the Law. I really should be very glad 
for this Yaktib esh Shellaby to go with us. You 
know there are only a few Samaritans remaining, 
and their history is most remarkable. 1 Their version 
of the Pentateuch — it is not a version, but a text — 

1 The following interesting description of the Samaritans of 
Nablua is given by Mrs. Isabel Burton in her " Inner Life of 
Syria " (published in 1876) : — " In the afternoon we rode up to Mount 
Gerizim, by far the most interesting. It is a difficult ascent of an 
hour and a half. On the top are the ruins of a Christian church, 
and a temple, marked by a little * wely,' as English travellers say, 
and an immense dSbris. The mountain is entirely covered with 
stones. Here are encamped at the top all the Samaritans now exist- 
ing on the face of the earth. They number 135, and are governed by 
their Chief and High Priest, Ya'akub Shalabi." 

[Miss M. E. Rogers writing to me upon this subject says : " Mrs. 
Burton calls Yakub the Chief and * High Priest ' of the Samaritans. 
He is certainly the Chief or Sheikh of his people. Jacob Cohen is 
the Priest, but as he is a younger man than Yakub esh Shellaby ; 
he looks up to him and is guided by him."] 

" Here live, entirely apart from the rest of the world, eighty males 
and fifty females, including children, and here they celebrate their 
Passover on the 3d of May. We were invited, and wished for an 
excuse to remain, but if I felt well before the 3d of May we were 
bound to proceed. 

" They showed us a small Square with stone walls, where they 
celebrate their Passover exactly as the Old Testament dictates 


is generally believed to be more correct than that 
of the Jews. Both are in Hebrew, the Samaritan 
being in the older character. As long ago as 1836 
I published in the ' British Magazine ' my opinion 
in favour of the former, which is nearly, if not quite, 
the text from which the Septuagint Greek version 
was made. 

After leaving Oppenheim's I took a donkey-boy 
— not a donkey, for you will recollect how the last 
time I was here a donkey quietly shot me over 
his head, and after depositing me in front at his 
feet, looked down on me with an air of great sur- 
prise, as much as to say, What are you doing 
there ? He showed me the way to Messrs. Tod, 

(Exod. xii 1-13). From here there is a beautiful view of the Sea, 
and Moab, and the Plain ; also of Jacob's Well and Joseph's Tomb 
beneath. The Samaritans were very hospitable. I noticed that 
they did not like my dog to go near them ; and suspecting that it 
rendered them * unclean,' according to their faith, I tied him up. 

" I will describe the Samaritan women's dress, and will take for a 
model the wife of Ya'akub Shalabi " [who is now in England, and 
who writes to me to say how charmed he is with Mrs. Burton's 
graphic description of his wife's costume, and adds that her name is 
'Shemseh,' i.e., sunny], "who was more richly dressed than the 
others. She wore large leather 6hoes, cotton trousers gathered in 
at the ankle, red-striped silk petticoat to the knee, a jacket or bodice 
over it. She had on five jackets of different colours, open at the 
bosom, and each was so arranged as to let the border of its neigh- 
bour be seen. A girdle was around her waist, a necklace of chains 
clasped her throat, and another of large gold coins hung round her 
neck. Her hair was not shaved or tucked under like our Jewesses, 
but dressed in a thousand little plaits down her back, a thousand 
worsted plaits to imitate hair covered her own hair, and hung down 
her back below the waist, and were fastened off with and covered 


Rathbone, & Co/s, where I saw Mr. Wolff (a Ger- 
man), their agent, with whom I arranged about send- 
ing me on my letters as soon as received. I then 
went to the American Consulate to see Mr. Wal- 
mass, to whom I had an introduction from my good 
old friend Mr. Hugh Thurburn ; 1 but unfortunately 
he has gone to Constantinople. As I was not to 
see Mr. Rogers till the afternoon, I thought I would 
finish my business with the Americans ; so I went 
with my donkey-boy to find out Dr. Lansing and 
his colleagues, on whom Mr. Fleming had suggested 

with Bpangles and coins of value. Upon her head she wore a coat 
of mail of gold, and literally covered with gold coins, of which a 
very large one dangled on her forehead. She wore diamond and 
enamel earrings, and a string of pearls coquettishly arranged on one 
side of her head in a festoon. A yellow handkerchief covered her 
head, but hung down loose upon her shoulders. Her eyebrows 
were plucked out, and in a straight line in their place patterns were 
thickly marked in ink. I thought wrongly that they were in 
Hebrew characters, but they presented that appearance. A silver 
charm, like a jewel etui, and a little silver book containing a charm, 
she wore upon her heart. I forgot to add a third thick chain of gold 
around her neck, and that all the head ornaments were surmounted 
by a large crescent studded with jewels. . . . We then went to 
Ya'akub Shalabi's house in the town. He took us to their present 
synagogue, a miserable small groined room, hung with a few indif- 
ferent lamps. A recess was hidden by a long white counterpane, 
which had a Hebrew inscription worked upon it in gold, hiding 
another curtain 350 years old, also inscribed. He then sent out of 
the room a few Samaritans, and showed us a cupboard containing 
several old MSS., kept in gold and silver cases, ancient, carved, and 
scroll shaped. One is held most sacred ; it is a copy of the ancient 
Jewish law, written on vellum, and said to be 3374 years old. This 
venerable Pentateuch dates 1 500 B.C., to Abishua, son of Phineas, 
son of Eliezar, son of Aaron (Ezra vii. 5)." 

1 Mr. Thurburn's much lamented death has since occurred. 


I should call. They are the Presbyterian mis- 
sionaries, who have, as it were, taken the place of 
our Church missionaries since the death of Dr. 
Lieder; whose widow you will recollect was so kind 
to us when we were here some years ago. 

After wandering about from pillar to post, I was 
taken to the German mission house, where I saw 
a Dr. Trautvetter, with whom, being pretty well 
knocked up by this time, I sat talking a consider- 
able time about Mount Sinai. Did not he open 
his eyes ? When at last I was about to leave, he 
thought he might improve the occasion by suggest- 
ing that in thus attending to the letter of Scripture 
I might be neglecting its spirit — the more import- 
ant matter. But I replied that it appeared to me 
to be quite as important to learn what the letter 
was truly, of which we had to know the spirit, or 
we might perchance fall into error as to this 
latter. We parted, however, on the best of terms, 
and he expressed himself most anxious to know 
the result of my investigations, kindly wishing me 
every success, &c. 

I then came home to my lunch (the table cThdte 
breakfast), where I met Milne, who had been on a 
voyage of discovery by himself half over Cairo ; 
and among other places, he discovered that he had 
got into a mosque, where they had led him into 


all sorts of places one after the other, making him 
pay bakshish — a franc — for each. He appeared to 
be amazingly amused with himself, as much as any- 
th ing at allowing himself to be so robbed. If he likes 
it, it is not my affair ; only I laughingly told him 
that if he went on in this manner I should have to 
take his money from him and ' write to his mother' 
about him. He puts me in mind of Mr. Latimer 
Clarke, whom you and I met here on his first visit 
to Egypt. Everything is so entirely new to Milne, 
that he really does not know where he is or what 
he is about. Besides he is only three-and-twenty, 
and though very well-informed on many subjects, 
he is as green as grass on others. 

I learned at the hotel that Mr. Rogers 1 had called 
on me while I was out : he had evidently lost not 
a moment's time after his return home. When 
luncheon was finished I went off" to him again. He 
received me in the most friendly manner, nothing 
could possibly be more cordial, introducing me to 
his wife, and not leaving me many minutes before he 
invited me to eat my Christmas dinner with them, 
in which invitation Mrs. Eogers joined. He had, 
in fact, called on me for the purpose of inviting me. 
I told him of Mr. Milne being witk me, when they 

1 Mr. Rogers is now Director of the Ministry of Public Instruction 
in Egypt 


kindly invited him likewise. We had a long 
friendly chat about old times, and I told him about 
Harran and the new " tradition." 

The story of Harran is excessively curious, and 
is besides most pertinent to the present question of 
the true position of Mount Sinai. In my " Origines 
Biblicsa " I contended that the Jews having during 
their captivity beyond the Euphrates become ac- 
quainted with the celebrated city of Harran in 
Mesopotamia, fell into the not unnatural error of 
supposing that city to be the Haran of Genesis ; 
an error which was the more readily committed 
because the Greek word Mesopotomia is an almost 
literal translation of the Hebrew term Aram Na- 
karaim, " Aram," or Syria, " of the Two Rivers ; " 
which two rivers, however, I proved to be the 
" Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus," and not 
the great rivers Euphrates and Tigris. This was 
in 1834. In 1852 a village called Harran was dis- 
covered by the Rev. Joseph Leslie Porter precisely 
where eighteen years previously I had said it ought 
to be looked for, without his being at all conscious 
of the importance of his discovery ; and nine years 
afterwards, namely in 1861, my wife and I went 
to the spot to verify my identification of it, just 
as I now propose visiting the true Mount Sinai. 


Of our pilgrimage to Harran a narrative was given 
by my wife in her work "Jacob's Flight." At Harran 
we discovered a well, which we named " Rebekah's 
Well," because it was in my opinion that at which 
the daughter of Bethuel was met by Abraham's 
steward. 1 At that time no designation of any kind 
had been given to this well by the people themselves; 
and, though we were most minute in our inquiries, we 
could not learn that any history or tradition whatever 
was attached either to the well or to the troughs near 
it used for watering cattle, as it is, in fact, expressly 
recorded in Mrs. Beke's work. Indeed, when we 
first arrived at Harran, the people of the village 
denied altogether the existence of any well what- 
ever, as our old friend Dr. Wetzstein, who was 
with us, can testify. It is scarcely necessary to 
add that the inhabitants of Harran had not the 
remotest idea of their village having been the habi- 
tation of El Khalil, " The Friend of God," as the 
Patriarch Abraham is usually called. But they 
were not slow to adopt my identification of it ; 
and when Major Wilson, B.E. (in 1865), and 
Mr. John Macgregor, of the " Rob Roy," visited 
Harran in December 1868, just seven years after 
my wife and I were there, he was shown what 

1 Gen. xxiv. 10-20. 


he described in the " Kecord " newspaper, as a very 
curious well called " Abraham's Well," adding that 
he had never met with stones and cistern more 
worn than those; the well thus shown to him as 
"Abraham's Well " by the canny natives being our 
"Rebekah's Well" which my wife discovered in 
1 86 1. But this is not all ; two years later, when 
Captain Burton was Consul at Damascus, he wrote 
in the " Athenaeum " that he knew the Haran well 
to be called "Abraham's Well" by many Syrian 
Moslems who had been to that place, and who 
certainly never heard of Dr. Beke's visit to it in 
1 86 1. And since then, on his return to England, 
he informed me in person that the Moslems of 
other places besides Damascus, all speak of " Abra- 
ham's Well " at Haran, as a matter of notoriety ! 

The local tradition appears thus to have been im- 
mediately set on foot ; and within ten years of the 
time when I made them acquainted with it, my 
identification of the place has come to be regarded 
as a notorious " fact," and I, its originator, am lost 
sight of I This serves to illustrate how " tradi- 
tions " originate, and consequently how little value 
they possess in themselves, however long they may 
have remained unquestioned. 

Just before leaving Mr. Rogers, some ladies and 



Mr. Clarke, the Consular Chaplain, came in for the 
purpose of rehearsing the hymn for to-morrow's 
service. But before doing so, I said a few words 
to my friend about my wish for a steamer, and that 
General Stanton might assist me officieusement 
with the Government. I gave him a copy of my 
pamphlet, which I requested him to look over at 
once, in order that he might be able to speak to 
General Stanton on the subject. I had given one 
also to Mr. Beyerld, that he might show it to 
Nubar Pasha. I must not forget to mention that 
I also spoke to him about the inundation of the 
Libyan Desert as a means of abolishing the slave 
trade, and of enabling the Khedive to get near to 
Darf&r and Kordofan. This seemed to interest 
Mr. Beyerl^ more than the slave trade ! I fancy 
I shall make something of this. M. de Lesseps is 
here, having arrived yesterday in company with Mr. 
Rogers. After my visit to the latter I came home 
to my hotel, and have been " in my key/" the whole 
afternoon, first taking a cup of coffee and a cigar, 
then a nap of an hour and a half, and then writing 
this long letter to you. I think I have done a 
good day's work on the whole. Poor Rogers 
suffers much from Nile boils: this year he had 
no less than one hundred and ten opened with 


the lancet. That is living in Egypt for some- 
thing ! 

This afternoon Milne found his way to the 
museum at Boulak, which he went over, only pay- 
ing one franc. This he looks on as a great feat : 
he laughs at himself for being so egregiously 
swindled this morning, and says he almost swore 
he would shut himself up in his room at the hotel, 
and not leave it till I was ready to go to Mount 
Sinai. He is a most amusing fellow, and also very 
useful. He has brought drawing materials with 
him, and at Alexandria, whilst I went to General 
Stanton's, he went on and made a drawing of 
Pompey's Pillar. So if I do not take an artist 
with me, he will be able to help me in this respect 

And now I have to tell you some good news. 
This afternoon Mr. Beyerld called on me to ap- 
point to-morrow morning for my interview with 
Nubar Pasha. The porter tells me he came while 
I was out: it may, however, have been while I 
was in Milne's room next to mine, into which I 
went for a few minutes after I had finished writing 
to you. Be this as it may, he left his card. What- 
ever may be the result of my audience, it is a great 
step to be at once brought into personal commu- 


nication with the most powerful man in Egypt. 
Should he be favourable, and obtain me the steamer, 
there would still be much delay in such a country 
as this. But here " Admiral " Fedrigo and " Cap- 
tain " Mackillop — Fedrigo Pasha, and Mackillop 
Bey> the titles correspond — would be of service to 
me in pushing matters on, especially Mackillop, if 
what they say of him be true. Altogether, I trust 
I am going on well ; and I think you will agree 
with me that I have not been dilatory. I do 
not believe myself that I have lost a moment. 
And now I have nothing more to say to-night, 
except to wish you from the bottom of my heart a 
merry and happy Christmas, and a still happier 
New Year. If it please God to bring me home iu 
safety, I think I shall have good and profitable 
work for the remainder of my days. For my book 
" Sinai Eegained " must become a popular work ; 
and if it does, so will a larger work on the history 
of Genesis and Exodus, which I purpose writing 
afterwards — a second edition, in fact, of "Origines 

Milne is off to the theatre to-night. He is en- 
joying himself with all his might. It does one 
good to witness it ; only I have to lecture him a 
little against coming it too strong. He did not go 


after all to the theatre, but remained in his room 
writing to his mother. 

December 25, 1873. — A merry Christmas to you 
and a happy New Year. The same to Mrs. Lau- 
rence-Levi, and also to master prinny (our 
doggy), as he is one of the family, and to Teddy 
likewise, who, I conclude, is spending his holidays 
with you. I hope he is a good boy, and that he 
has made more progress last half. I got up early 
to look out my things for this evening, and also to 
sew the elastic band of my pocket-book, which has 
come undone. On looking into my work-bag, I have 
found nothing but, to me, invisible needles and in- 
visible thread, which it is quite beyond my powers 
to make use of, and almost even to feel. I do not 
know who put them up for me. I want needle and 
thread that I can lay hold of. If Milne has not 
any, I must buy some. My ankle is much better. 

At 9. 1 5 a. m. Mr. Beyerl^ called in his carriage 
to take me to Nubar Pasha. We were at once 
shown in, and found his Excellency sitting on the 
divan with an Englishman, named Norris. He at 
once rose, shook hands with us, and relinquished 
his place to me, taking a chair by my side, or 
rather in front of me. He began the conversation 
iu English, when I said that, if he preferred it, we 


would speak French, which he talks better than 
English, though he quite understood this language. 
After a few words of general conversation, we spoke 
of my expedition, with the general purport of which 
he was quite aufait. My pamphlet, " Sinai a Vol- 
cano," was lying on the divan by the side of where 
I sat. We then came to the object of my visit, when 
he at once said that the Viceroy had no steamers in 
the Red Sea, only one stationed between Massowah 
and some place I did not catch the name of; but I 
think it was Berbera. The service of the Red Sea 
is performed by steamers belonging to a company, 
which has succeeded the Aziziah. He feared there 
would be great difficulty in doing what I wished. 
The company's vessels might be inclined to leave 
me at some place on the Arabian coast ; but this, 
I said, would be worse than proceeding direct from 
Suez by land. I suggested the importance of my 
expedition, its exceptional character, &c. ; but there 
was no moving him. After sitting some time I 
rose to take leave, when I suggested that he might 
perhaps be induced to change his opinion on reflec- 
tion. But to this he only shrugged his shoulders, 
saying he did not see how it could be. So I took 
my leave and came away. I must mention that we 
had coffee brought soon after we came in ; pipes 


were not offered, though Nubar Pasha himself 
smoked a cigarette. So ends act the first. 

Mr. BeyerW brought me back home. On the 
way he said that Nubar Pasha had expressed him- 
self to the same effect when he called on him yes- 
terday. He regretted that we had not succeeded, 
and said he should at all times be at my service, 
and ready to assist me in any way in his power. 
Of course he did not, any more than myself, look 


on this decision as final. General Stanton might 
be able to induce him to change his mind, or 
rather to see things in a different light. Milne was 
waiting for me outside the hotel, and said YakAb esh 
Shellaby had just been to call on me, and had been 
talking with him. We went out to see whether he 
was there, when Mr. Norris came up. He had been 
speaking with Nubar Pasha, or rather Nubar Pasha 
had been speaking with him about me after I had 
left, and seemed, he said, to be much interested in 
my expedition. He added, I must not take " No " 
for an answer, and hinted, rather significantly, that 
I should try higher up, meaning of course that I 
should get General Stanton to interest himself for 
me. So it comes to this, that the Consul-General 
is my only card, and without him I lose my game. 
When the time came we went to church, ser- 


vice being held in a room at the New Hotel. 
We met Mr. Rogers outside, with whom I 
stood talking for a few minutes before service 
began. As we came out, General Stanton, who 
had sat on the opposite side to me, preceded me 
by a few paces. I saw him hang back till I came 
out, when he crossed over and came to me holding 
out his hand, and then of his own accord intro- 
duced me to Mrs. Stanton — forgetting, I suppose, 
that you and I had had the pleasure of visiting Mrs. 
Stanton when we were in Egypt in 1866. Of 
course there was no time for conversation, but I 
managed to introduce Mr. Milne to them, and so 
we parted. We got back to our hotel in time for 
luncheon, on my coming out from which Mr. 
Frank Dillon's card was brought to me. He was 
waiting outside, and I went to him, and we had a 
long friendly talk : he asked after you very kindly. 
Milne had been commissioned by Mr. Waller, the 
American artist with whom we were on board the 
" Simla," and who is staying in our hotel, to ask 
me to come and see his pictures, so I took Dillon 
with me and introduced him. He is stopping at 
the Hotel du Nil, where I have promised to go and 
see him. Then Mr. John Cook, who is also staying 
at this hotel, stopped me, and politely offered to 


take charge of anything for England. I arranged 
to go and see him to-morrow. 

Things do not look so bright as they did yester- 
day, but I am not at all discouraged. I have now 
broken the ice. I have the entr&e to Nubar Pasha, 
and can now ask General Stanton to say a word 
in my favour. If I had asked him to introduce me 
to the Minister, he might have made difficulties. 
I shall be hearing from you to-morrow or the 
next day, and I trust I may have good news 
from you. At half-past six, for seven, Milne 
and I dined with Mr. and Mrs. Rogers. There 
were present only the artist, Carl Haag, who 
has been up the Nile with Rogers, a Madame 
Biichner, and YakAb esh Shellaby. We passed 
a very pleasant evening, leaving at eleven o'clock. 
Mrs. Rogers is a very nice little woman, a good deal 
like your friend (?) Commissary Furse's wife in man- 
ner and figure, if not exactly in face, only, if any- 
thing, shorter and stouter : if she goes on, she will 
soon equal Mrs. Robinson of Mauritius. We had the 
orthodox roast Turkey, and plum-pudding and mince 
pies, with plenty of champagne. In the evening 
two or three French (or foreign) ladies joined 
the party, and a Russian artist, who played to us 
several times on the piano very nicely indeed. 


Altogether, we passed a very pleasant Christmas. 
[Unhappily the last Dr. Beke lived to spend.] Our 
only regret was, that you were not with me as 
at Damascus. I invited myself to dine with Kogers 
this day twelve years again ! 

December 26. — I got up this morning none the 
worse for my holiday-making. At ten o'clock I 
went to the Consulate and had a quiet talk with 
Mr. Rogers. Of course he can do nothing, and I 
explained at starting that I did not speak to him 
as Consul, but as an old friend, whose advice I am 
in need of. He seemed to think that General 
Stanton might perhaps be induced to interfere 
on my behalf, and he gave me a valuable hint. 
The Viceroy has several steam-tugs in the Suez 
Canal, one of which might be big enough for my 
purpose, as they are in the habit of carrying pas- 
sengers ; so that if the Viceroy should object to give 
me a big steamer, he might at all events let me have 
one of these little ones. As he said it was now a 
good time to see General Stanton, I went from 
the Consulate direct to his house, which is close by 
on the other side of the Esbekiah. And here 
begins act the second of my historical drama 1 
General Stanton received me in a more than 
courteous manner. He was writing a letter, 


which he asked my permission to finish, offering 
me a cigar meanwhile ; and when he had sent 
that off, he began talking of my expedition in 
the most friendly manner. He had read my 
pamphlet halfway through in the train from 
Alexandria, and as far as he had gone he thought 
my reasons were most cogent. We discussed the 
matter for some little time, looking at the map, 
and I pointing out the site of Mount Sinai ; and 
then I proceeded to the object of my visit. I had 
hardly explained what I wanted, when he said 
that he thought the Viceroy ought and would give 
me a steamer, and volunteered to speak to His 
Highness, and also to Nubar Pasha, to that effect. 
The Viceroy, he said, would be doing a great ser- 
vice to science ; and besides, his sending a steamer 
to Akaba would give him an opportunity of show- 
ing his flag there, which he might not dislike to 
avail himself of. Akaba, General Staunton says, 
belongs to Egypt. 1 I doubt it. But whether or 
not, it is just on the Turkish frontier, and the 
Viceroy might be glad of such an excuse for going 
there and exercising a little bit of authority under 
the guise of rendering assistance to a distinguished 

1 In the adjustment of the Eastern Question about to be discussed 
at the approaching Congress, this question will be an important one 
to decide. 


English traveller. The Sultan would have no pre- 
tence for finding fault with him for doing so. Is 
not all this good ? For my part I felt inclined to 
throw up my hat for joy; but of course I con- 
fined myself to thanking General Stanton for his 
very great kindness. In mentioning to him that 
Mr. Poulett Scrope was one of the kind patrons of 
my expedition, he said he knew him well, but 
thought he was dead. He was the colleague, as 
member of Parliament for Stroud, with General 
Stanton's father. After this we talked politics, 
and being both Conservatives, we pulled well to- 
gether in this respect likewise. Then I broached 
the Libyan Desert scheme, and showed him on the 
map of Africa the political, climatic, and humani- 
tarian advantages of it. From his manner, 
I more than suspect the Khddive has a political 
object in Dr. Eohlfss expedition, 1 and would be 
glad to have other motives suggested for justifying 
it to the world. The General is to see Nubar Pasha 
to-day, and may then perhaps mention the subject 
of my expedition. He must, of course, speak to 
him before addressing himself to the Khedive. 

After luncheon Milne and I called on Mrs. 
Eogers, and then I went alone to pay my respects 
to Mrs. Stanton. She received me very kindly, 

1 Dr. Gerhard Rohlfa is now organising a fresh expedition. 


and asked particularly after you, and was very 
sorry to hear yon had become such an invalid. I 
had a long talk with her about my affair, in which 
she seemed • much interested, but she said she 
feared I should meet with much opposition on 
account of the novelty of my views. When I 
came back to the hotel, I saw a dragoman recom- 
mended by Yakfib, and afterwards Cook's (the 
tourist's) manager, Alexander Howard, a Syrian. 
Then I came to my room to write to you. The 
mail is in from Brindisi, and I hope to hear from 

December 27. — Yesterday afternoon, after I had 
finished my letter of the 23d to the 26th, which 
accompanies this, I received your dear letter of 
the 1 8th, and regret exceedingly to hear such bad 
accounts of your health. Pray do not delay a 
moment consulting a doctor : I trust to hear you 
have done so when you next write, and that you 
will be able td give me a more favourable report, 
for I am most anxious on the subject. You really 
must keep well while I am away. If all goes right, 
as I now hope, it will not be long before I am back 
with you. What you tell me about Hickie k Co. 
is most vexing : I shall write to Messrs. Tod, Rath- 
bone, & Co. on the subject. Apart from the extra 
expenses which I shall try to avoid, I hardly think 



there will be very much delay, and as it is only the 
case of instruments that has gone to Liverpool, why 
that does not very much signify, as I shall not 
want them till I start on my journey. Your case 
I shall be glad to receive as quickly as possible. 
Mr. M.'s conduct, with respect to my article, 
is really too bad. The fact is, he has no faith 
in my discovery, or in the success of my expe- 
dition; but, inshallah, we will teach him better 
yet. I am sorry indeed to hear you have been 
so unsuccessful with respect to subscriptions 
for my expedition. I fear with you that you will 
not get anything more now : I must see whether I 
cannot meet with some more friends here like Colonel 
Morrieson. I had last night a long conversation 
with the Mr. Norris about whom I wrote to you in 
my last letter, and who seems greatly interested in 
my expedition. He looked into my pamphlet whilst 
with Nubar Pasha, and wished he could read it 
through, so I lent him a copy, which he took forth- 
with to his room to read. I shall have to tell you 
more about him by and by. What you say in 
your letter about the Khedive having an excuse 
for going to Akaba, 1 &c, is exactly what General 
Stanton said; so this shows what a clever little 

» See Beke's "French and English in the Red Sea.* Second 
Edition, 1S62. Taylor & Francis. 



woman you are. Let me first get the steamer, and 
then of course I shall ask for a firman addressed to 
the Governor of Akaba, ordering him to provide 
me with whatever is necessary. 

And now about myself. I am quite well, and 
my leg is going on quite well too. It has been 
raining on and off all the night ; this is a novelty 
in Cairo, where it used never to rain : the culti- 
vation and the trees are the cause of it. Mr. Norris 
says that in 1850 there were two and a half mil- 
lions of acres under cultivation, and now there &re 
five millions I He is an American settled in Paris, 
and, if I am to believe all he tells me, he is an 
agent of the French Government, or at all events 
was so at the time of the investment of Paris, 
when he says he was sent on a mission to the 
several Powers of Europe having a credit of seven 
millions of francs. I fancy this is rather " tall " 
talk ; but at all events, he seems to be on intimate 
terms with the Khedive and his Ministers. We had 
a good deal of conversation about my expedition and 
myself. He said that Nubar Pasha was favourably 
disposed towards me, only he could not encourage 
the Khddive in patronising enterprises like mine 
that are constantly being brought before him. The 
Kh&live is overhead and ears in debt ; money is 


getting scarcer every day, and a stop must be made 
to all unnecessary expenditure. So, enterprises like 
mine are not to be encouraged, and the Khedive is 
to squander two or three millions on the marriage 
of his daughters, as he did last year, and is likely 
to do again this year. He is, however, a very kind 
man, and if I were introduced to him, and he were 
in the humour, he would grant me all I requested. 
Mr. Norris recommended that I should get General 
Stanton to introduce me, or to speak to him for 
me. And as he questioned, I said I had seen, 
and spoken to him on the subject. Norris 
was anxious to know what he had said, but 
I only told him that the General had ex- 
pressed himself not unfavourably, but of course 
with persons in his position it was necessary to be 
diplomatic, and speak in general terms, which led 
to a long talk about diplomacy and his (Norris's) 
experience, &c. If he was fishing, he did not catch 
much. I shall see him again when he has read my 
pamphlet. I asked him to allow me to pay my 
respects to Madame, who has come to Egypt for 
her health. They are lodging in this hotel, where 
they have been since October. I hear that the 
Duke of Sutherland and Mr. Pender are coming 
here next month. They built the house in which 


the Consul-General is living, and which he rents of 
them. This is a little speculation of theirs. The 
Khedive gave them the land, and asked them to 
build. He is altering the Frank quarter entirely. 
Shepheard's Hotel is no longer on the Esbekiah. I 
assure you, you would not know the place. I shall 
now close my letter and put it in the box so that it 
may go by the twelve o'clock mail to Alexandria. 
We are not always sure here about the departure 
from Alexandria, as it depends on the arrival of the 
India mail at Suez, whence it goes through direct, 
without passing through Cairo. The English post- 
office in this city is now abolished, and our letters 
have to be sent through the Egyptian post-office. 
I do not mean to write to the " Athenaeum " again 
till I hear what the editor has done with my letter 
from Alexandria. It is not raining now, but it 
is miserably cold, and the streets are filthily 
dirty. I have written to Messrs. Tod, Eathbone, & 
Co., and hope to have the case of books, at all 
events, in a day or two; but it may be a week 
or more before I get the case of instruments. 

December 28. — After I had posted my letter to 
you yesterday, the rain still continued, with hail. 
Signor Battisti, who came in from Alexandria in 
the evening, said they had had hailstones there as 



big as the end of one's finger ! Of course there 
was no stirring out of the house. I was glad he 
came in, so that I might have a chat with him over 
the fore, round which all the visitors in the house 
crowded after dinner and remained till bedtime. 
There was no performance at the Opera on account 
of the weather 1 To-day it is fine, but the streets 
are full of mud almost over one's ankles. I went 
out, nevertheless, before church to see Mr. Beyerld 
and Mr. Jacques Oppenheim: the former said 
that Nubar Pasha would be willing to assist me 
were it not for the expense, which, he says, would 
be £2000 at least! I recurred to my conver- 
sation about my scheme for flooding the Libyan 
Desert as a means of abolishing the slave 
trade, <fcc. At first he shrugged his shoulders, 
but afterwards listened more attentively, though 
he said that the Viceroy had no money for such 
schemes. I replied that I did not propose he 
should spend money, for that I thought the Eng- 
lish philanthropists would back such an enterprise ; 
and I suggested that he should mention it to the 
Khddive. He laughed and said that His Highness 
and he were at war — they did not even speak I 
We know what the end of this will be. When the 
Khedive gets over his displeasure, because they 


have not been willing or able to snpply him with 
all the money he wants, they will be better friends 
than ever. I explained that I did not put this 
forward as a scheme from which I wished to 
derive any personal advantage : what I did was 
purely in the cause of humanity, and in the 
interest (as I fully believed) of His Highness. I 
shall see De Lesseps about it, and also about the 
Suez Canal steamers : I think I shall at all events 
be able to get one of these. Mr. Beyerl<5 promised 
he would still try to move Nubar Pasha ; but that 
General Stanton could hardly fail of success if he 
really took the matter up. He and his partner 
had intended calling on me yesterday but for the 
weather, and the latter said it was their purpose to 
do so to-day, but I begged them not to trouble as 
I was going to church. I suppose I shall see them 
to-morrow. General Stanton was not at church, 
so I presume he was busy with the mail, which did 
not leave till after two p.m. Letters at the post- 
office were in time till noon. I posted mine yester- 
day, because I was told it was safer to do so, on 
account of the freaks the Post-Office Company play 
when the steamers are behind time. I could still 
have posted another letter had there been any 
necessity for it. 


The Consul was at church, but he came in late, 
having had to go to the Khedive. The Consul- 
General will be going there too, as he must pay his 
respects after his long absence. I have been for- 
tunate in pushing on to Cairo at the very moment 
they both arrived here. I omitted to mention that 
yesterday afternoon I called on Mrs. Norris, as I 
had requested permission to do when I lent Norris 
my pamphlet. He was not in, so I had to intro- 
duce myself, which I had no difficulty in doing, as 
we were already on bowing terms from meeting so 

After church I went to look De Lesseps up. I 
was told he was at the New Hotel, and there they 
sent me to the Hotel Royal, whence I was for- 
warded to the Hotel d'Orient, the hotel at which 
he had really been, but is no longer, he having 
gone to Ismailia (pronounced Ismaileeyah) three or 
four days ago. He is expected back in a week or 
ten days ; I think, however, of running over to 
Ismailia to see him. I will jot down some notes 
here which I made on my journey from Alex- 

The country is so changed since I first knew it, 
that it does not seem the same : it is well cul- 
tivated, and looks most rich and flourishing, being 


well watered from canals and ditches. I observed 
a rude way of passing the water from one ditch to 
another ; two men held the ends of a cord, in the 
middle of which was a basket, which they swung 
backwards and forwards, and so scooped the water 
out Many of the villages were much improved, 
and there were signs of houses for the labourers, 
approaching more to a European type than the 
mud huts in which they have hitherto lived. Some 
of the native villages seemed deserted, and the huts 
falling into decay. When the Israelites built the 
cities for Pharaoh of mud, bricks, and straw, I 
should like to know how long they could have 
lasted, and what traces we are likely to find of 
them. There was, I am told, an exodus of fellahs 
in the time of Mohammed ALL, in consequence of 
his oppression, which was the primary cause of the 
Syrian war. I must see to this. 

The reason of the rains which now visit this 
country so much more than formerly appears to be 
the greater cultivation, and also the planting of 
trees, which not only line the road, but are in parts 
so plentiful as to give it almost the appearance in 
places of being well wooded : it certainly does not 
look like Egypt. In the villages far and near one 
sees the tall chimneys of factories, which tend to 


increase the illusion, though the mixture with them 
of the native mud huts soon destroys the charm. 
Ophthalmia, the great curse of the country, is cer- 
tainly on the decrease, being not only less frequent, 
but also in a milder form. The railway, above all, 
is a great civiliser, from its opening up the country, 
facilitating the transport of its produce, and bring- 
ing the people of one part into communication with 
those of another. We had a delightful ride from 
Alexandria to Cairo, having the carriage entirely to 
ourselves during the greater part of the time, and 
the weather being delightfully cool and pleasant. 
The cotton harvest is just over, and the people are 
busy clearing and ploughing the land, an animated 
and lively scene. In one place we saw a camel 
drawing the plough ! In others, the cattle were 
taking their fill of the rich pasture, which they 
seemed to have possession of ad libitum. Of course 
there is a dark side — perhaps many dark sides — to 
the picture, but, looking on the surface only, there 
is an appearance of great material prosperity, and 
the balance must certainly be of good. 

Yonis Ibrahim, a dragoman, recommended to me 
by Yakub esh Shellaby, has been with me to-day to 
let me know his terms. He has the modesty to talk 
of £8 per day, for one month, that is, £248. I 


only wish he may get it, or rather, I wish I had it 
to give — and then I would not. I told him so ; 
when he proposed that I should take the expenses 
on myself, and pay him only for his personal ser- 
vices. I asked him how much he expected, when 
he hinted at his having been paid £25 a month by 
the Egyptian Government, for accompanying some 
of the railway surveyors in Upper Egypt. Clearly 
this gentleman is too high-priced for me ; but hie is 
a respectable and intelligent man, has been several 
times to Akaba, Petra, Ma'an, &c, and I have no 
doubt would do his work well. 

December 29. — This morning, I went to the 
French Consulate to inquire after M. de Lesseps. 
He is on the Suez Canal somewhere, and is expected 
back in a few days. I thought, and still think, of 
writing to him, appointing to see him at Ismailia ; 
but on inquiry, I find the journey would occupy a 
whole day and the return another, costing a pound 
sterling each way, and a third day would be occupied 
with him. This would involve the hotel bill for two 
nights, in addition to the expenses of my room 
here at Cairo, so that I question whether it would 
be prudent to chance the journey. I will write to 
him, however, to know when he may be expected 


This morning I have been to Boulak to see the 
Egyptian Museum, and also to have a talk with 
Mariette Bey, the Director, as you know. I looked 
over the Museum, but did not succeed in finding 
M. Mariette, as he was absent with the Viceroy, 
and the people in charge did not know when he 
would be back. The principal object of my curio- 
sity was the group Mariette discovered at San (the 
Zoan of Scripture) of the remains of my Mitzrites — 
his Hyksos — who were evidently allied to the Philis- 
tines, and worshipped the same >fe-god, Dagon. 
They are very interesting and important, confirm- 
ing, as they do, my identification of the position of 
Mitzraim. I was accompanied by Mr. Milne, who 
had, however, found his way thither a day or two 
ago, before the rain. He is extremely well informed 
on other subjects besides geology, having been 
educated at Kings College, London, besides acquir- 
ing mechanical knowledge in Lancashire, of which 
county he is a native. He is rather backward, so 
that he does not make the most of himself 9 like 
somebody else I know, so that he requires drawing 
out : but I find his company very useful to me, 
and, in talking over matters, I obtain many a valu- 
able hint from him. He has now gone off with 
his hammer to look at the mountains near here, 


which, however, I expect he will find to be further 

off than he calculates on ; but he has good legs, 

and knows how to use them. He also knows how 

to talk, and is gradually disseminating my views 

among the people in the hotel, with whom he mixes 

more than I do. I, too, do my best to be sociable. 

Fancy an American telling him that he looked on 

me as a long-headed, matter-of-fact Yorkshire- 

I meet several persons who claim acquaintance 
with me. One is Dr. Grant, an American physician, 
who says he lodged with us at Williams's, in the Shou- 
bra road, in 1865 ; another is Mr. Gibbs, the Direc- 
tor of the telegraph, who tells me that the P. and 
0/s Southampton steamer has been forced by the 
weather to proceed direct to Port Said, without 
putting in at Alexandria to land mails and pas- 
sengers, and my box of books, <fcc, which will have 
to be landed at Ismailia, or it may be at Suez. 
This is annoying, though, under the circumstances, 
the delay is not so important as it might have been. 
It is strange that I have not fallen in with my 
friend Colonel Morrieson : he came on to Cairo 
the day before me, and I certainly understood he 
would be at the New Hotel, but he is not there. 
In the afternoon I wrote to M. de Lesseps, asking 


him when he would be in Cairo, and when I could 
see him after his arrival. 

After dinner Milne and I went and paid a visit 
to Mr. Frank Dillon at the Hotel du Nil. He asked 
particularly after you, and hoped to see you and 
me at his studio at Kensington after his and my 
return to England. He gave me a photograph of 
an interior of a " native " house which I shall bring 
home to you. There is a story attached to it, which 
I need not tell you now. 1 Milne had been out, 
but did not get as far as the mountains, having 
been stopped by the cemetery of ancient Cairo 
which they have been cutting through, exposing 
thousands of human skulls and bones. Dillon will go 
there to see them. I suggest that it would make a 
fine sketch of the " valley of the shadow of death." 

December 30. — Last night I looked through 
Mariette Roy's " History of Egypt," a little work of 
which I Wight a copy yesterday at the Museum. 
To my great gratification I find he substantially 
agrees with me as to the fact, that the Israelites 
were not in bondage under the Egyptians, but 
under the Hvksoa* or Sfi^timf Kings, who were of 
a ditVorvnt race* Thus I am right in saying that 

1 Th« **oiy ***, tiui th* tvvsi £;:<\l up u* such a thotvxi^felj ori- 


every shepherd was not an " abomination," as our 
English (and every other) version has it, but of a 
separate and respected class. I must see Mariette, 
and so I have sent a note to him this morning 
requesting an interview. He stands well with the 
Khedive, and may be able to help me with him. 
I have heard nothing yet from General Stanton. I 
trust that no news is good news. Having received an 
answer from Mariette Bey that he was mostly visible 
in the afternoon, I took a carriage after lunch to Bou- 
lak, but he had not come back from Abdin, where he 
was with the Khedive : but I was told I could see 
him at eight o'clock to-morrow morning. Milne 
has been out into the country with Mr. Waller, the 
American artist, and has brought home a very 
pretty sketch he has made. He, like me, is most 
anxious to be off and at work, as he wants to get 
back to England for his Newfoundland engagement 
in the spring. 

Just as I came back from Boulak, the Khedive's 
mother passed in a carriage and four, with her 
ladies in waiting following in two other carriages 
and pairs, with syces and outriders carrying gold 
and silver sticks, and followed by a number of atten- 
dants, quite a state affair. My coachman had to 
stop his horses while she passed. Just before 


dinner I was standing in the Hall, when General 
Stanton and Mr. Rogers called for Mr. Vivian 
and Mr. Elliott, who are staying at this hotel. The 
General had just time to say to me that he had 
seen Nubar Pasha, who had promised to speak to 
the Viceroy, though he did not expect much good 
from it. He had intended to call on me to tell me, 
but had not had time. This is not very encour- 
aging. In fact, I fear I shall not succeed. What 
I shall do if the Viceroy refuses I really do not 

Selim, the son of our old dragoman, Mikhail 
Hend, has been offering his services as dragoman. 
He asks £7 per diem, and says it will take fifteen 
days to Akaba alone ! What am I to do ? I am 
quite bewildered. My only chance seems to be a 
small boat. Meanwhile time runs on, and I am 
dipping deeper and deeper into my scanty purse. 

December 31. — This morning I was up before 
seven, had my breakfast in my room, and was off 
to Mariette Bey. A lovely morning, but the fog so 
thick that one could not see fifty yards before one ; 
the sun, however, soon cleared it off. Mariette 
received me very kindly, and we had a long talk 
together. We are quite of one opinion as to the 
Israelites and Shepherd Kings. My connecting the 


latter with the Philistines by means of the fish-god, 
Dagon, was something new to him, and he said he 
would immediately make une petite Stude la dessus. 
As to my expedition, he thought the Viceroy might 
give me a vessel — he has two in the Red Sea — but 
it depends entirely on Nubar Pasha. They are 
making great " economies," he knows, which may 
stand in the way, but he thinks it might be done. 
He recommends me to speak to General Stone, an 
American officer, who is Acting Minister of Public 
Works. I will get Mr. Norris to introduce me. I 
spoke to Marietta about inundating the Libyan 
Desert. He says that the French are actually at 
work on the subject of inundating the Sahara, be- 
hind Algiers, by means of the Lesser Syrtis. It is 
by the Greater Syrtis, or Gulf of Sidra, that I pro- 
pose inundating the Libyan Desert. 

Whilst I was writing this a gentleman was an- 
nounced, and on my requesting him to come up to 
my room, I found him to be Dr. Schweinfurth, a 
nice young man, much younger than I had any 
idea of, for although I believe I have met him be- 
fore I had forgotten what he was like. He is on 
his way to the Oasis of Khargeh, or Great Oasis, 
and will start the day after to-morrow. He is lodg- 
ing at the Hotel du Nil ; and hearing of my being 


here, he came to pay his respects to me. We had a 
long and most interesting conversation on a variety 
of subjects connected with his journey and mine ; 
discussing Baker, Speke, Lepsius, Miani — the last- 
named is just dead, having gone as far as Schwein- 
furth himself. One curious fact he told me is that 
the people of Upper Egypt confound Lepsius with 
the Persian King Cambyses, who lived three or 
four hundred years B.C. I Cambyses, it is well 
known, destroyed the statue of Memnon and 
other ancient monuments. Lepsius, it is also well 
known, defaced many of the monuments by taking 
away the inscriptions for the Berlin Museum some 
thirty years ago. In the minds of the ignorant 
fellahs the two have got confused, so that Lepsius 
is reported to be the destroyer of the statue of 
Memnon ! Such is " tradition." Therefore we may 
well understand how the people of Haran have 
adopted our " Rebekah's Well," and made it that of 
" Abraham." Schweinfurth says that the Viceroy 
rendered him no assistance, so far as money is con- 
cerned : all his support was moral : he ordered the na- 
tives to assist him — that is all. To Rohlfs's expedi- 
tion his assistance is limited to ^4000. Sir Samuel 
Baker's Expedition has cost the Viceroy half-a- 
million sterling and seven hundred lives, to no pur- 



pose, or rather, it has done harm that it will take 
long to remedy, if ever I Instead of putting an 
end to slavery, it has put an end to legitimate com- 
merce. And as regards science and geographical 
discovery, he has done absolutely nothing. I gave 
Schweinfurth a copy of my pamphlet, and have 
now only one left. The letters by the Southamp- 
ton steamer arrived here last night from Suez, so 
that I shall be hearing about my things soon, I 

This morning Selim has been speaking to me 
again. He asks ten francs per day for himself, I 
finding everything. This would make three hun- 
dred francs per month, or ^12. Yonis talked of 
^25 I There is a Mr. Walter M'Lellan, a manufac- 
turer, or engineer more probably, of Glasgow, who 
is going up the Nile with his wife and daughter ; 
I have made their acquaintance through Milne, who 
lent him his copy of my pamphlet to read. He 
could not then give it the attention he wished, so I 
thought I might as well present him with a copy 
from myself, with which he was much pleased. 
He is a friend of Livingstone's, who gave him a copy 
of his work on the last day of 1858, in return for 
which he and two friends made him a present of a 
little steam-engine, with flour-mill, and I know not 


what besides. He seems much interested in my 
expedition, and may assist it perhaps. 

After luncheon I called on General Stanton, to 
hear the particulars of his conversation with Nubar 
Pasha. The latter promised to speak to the Vice- 
roy, but may forget to do so, in which case the 
General says he will take care to remind him, and 
he would speak to the Viceroy himself if ever he 
had an opportunity; but of course he could not 
go to him on purpose. He says he thinks he could 
and ought to do this for me. Stanton seems 
most well disposed, and I must hope he really 
is so. He says I am too early, and that I ought 
to wait till the middle or end of February. But 
how could I do this, especially as I want to be 
at Akaba at the Pascal full moon? When I 
went in he presented me with an invitation to 
dinner to-morrow, New-Year's Day, which he was 
just going to send out to me. Of course I ac- 
cepted it with thanks. While with him, Mr. J 
Oppenheim came in : he had just been to call on 
me, and I found his card on my return. 

Milne is hard at work grubbing in the cemetery 
and the mountains beyond. Thank God that 
amidst all my troubles I keep my health. During 
the rain I felt a little rheumatic, and no wonder ; 


but now I am all right again, and so nimble that I 
can run down the marble stairs without holding on. 
I don't run very fast. What I mean to say is, that 
I go down step after step like any other young man I 
When I go out Mr. Milne is always very careful 
to give me his arm, which I found especially of use 
when I came home at night from Frank Dillon's. 

This afternoon I have received a letter from Mr. 
M , via Southampton, dated the 1 6th, apologis- 
ing for not inserting my article, as he had already 
stated my views I As regards the article on New's 
work, he inserts the part I asked him to omit because 
it is " too good to be left out," and then he leaves 
out all about myself, " lest he should suspect the 
authorship." Very kind of him. He concludes by 
saying, " When you get into the wilds send us some 
letters, and oblige yours faithfully." I feel in- 
clined to say, " I'll see you hanged first/' but I sup- 
pose I must not quarrel with my bread and butter. 
I shall see what your next letter says. The 
" Atlantic " is due to-morrow ; so, after all, no time 
will have been lost with the instruments. YakAb 
esh Shellaby wants to know where Lord Francis 
Conyngham is, as he wishes to write to him. I 
will see if I can find out for him. To-day my 

pension is due. To-morrow 1 will get Mr. Rogers's 



certificate. The receipt for the Paymaster-General 
is already made out ; but I think I must not send 
it to you, as I hope to want the money before I 
could hear from you ; and after all the loss will ap- 
parently not be greater than on circular notes, on 
which I hear it is two per cent. I ought to have 
brought all my money in gold napoleons, which go 
for sixteen shillings sterling, without loss. Pazienza ! 
General S., they say, is not liked, and will soon 
have a fall in spite of the favour in which he now 
stands. I hear that these are the sentiments of the 
Americans, of whom there are many in the Viceroy's 
service, as well as of the native employes. I must 
feel my ground before wishing to speak to him, as 
from the character given of him, he may perhaps 
do me no good. 

10.30 p.m. — I have been reading in my room 
Mariette Bey's " History of Egypt ; " and now, be- 
fore going to bed for the last night this year, I open 
my desk, and sit down to wish you a happy New 
Year, and pray that God may bless us both, and 
make us more happy and prosperous than during 
the year that is now ending. I am very miserable 
just now, but I trust in God to mend my condition. 
To His care I commend us both. Again and again 
God bless you ! 

r ~ i zr^r z 

:** r*. J- *. 13 is t: ti.i. 

PITT — MZ* Z3i^J£s3 SL*J"~* 3«L IZZIt E?»ZiZ! f TI -^-tt- 

1 1* A CTa_LLL 

January i, 1*74- — A liTTj X-v Y-:ilt t: j:t„ 

mv darling ILlr. 1[t i**st wi^i-** m ill 11 

^ — « « 

home. I saw a lirtle wlh* c:«r in il-? # : .c 
at Boulak yesterday wL::h I«>:-k*I &:Eir:lir^ like 
our Prinny. About ten o'clock I called on CchstiI 
Rogers on business, and afterwards went to 
the New Hotel, with the intention of attending 
divine service ; but there seemed to be none. 
However, on looking on the board, I found 
Colonel Morrie8on to be in the hotel, so I went 
up to his room and had a long chat with 
him. Mr., Mrs., and Miss M'Lellan have left this 
afternoon for their dahabieh on the Nile, in which 
they intend remaining until they receive their 
letters from England. Mr. M'Lellan has invited 
me and also my companion to visit them to-morrow 


afternoon. I say "Miss" M'Lellan ; but I fancy- 
she is married. 

In the afternoon I remained at home, thinking 
over an article for the " Athenaeum," which I began 
writing. I was stopped in my work by a visit 
from Colonel Eyre, one of the passengers by the 
' Simla/ who is going up the Nile ; and is waiting 
for his baggage which was to come to Alexandria, 
per 'Malwa,' but, like mine, it has gone on to Suez. 
I explained to him how the matter stood ; and 
then we had a long talk about my expedition, which 
lasted till it was nearly time to dress for dinner. 
We dined at 7. 30. The party consisted of M. Carl 
Haag, Mr. Clarke, the chaplain here, Captain 
French, Mr. Gordon, General Stanton's secretary, 
and another young man who appears to have been 
some time in Egypt, and myself. I took Mrs. Stan- 
ton in to dinner ; which was served h, la Russe, but 
was nothing very special. After Mrs. Stanton had 
withdrawn into the General's study — the only room 
having afire that will burn — chibouques were brought 
in, and then we joined 'the lady.' The time was 
pretty well taken up in examining a rather large 
collection of Egyptian antiquities — small things — 
which General Stanton has been collecting from 
time to time. When we left I walked with Carl 


Haag, with whom I had some conversation respect- 
ing myself, and the difficult position in which I 
find myself placed. I was led to this by a re- 
mark he made during dinner time, about what he 
had said to the Viceroy when he had called upon 
him a few days ago : and I bethought me that if / 
had come here and asked to be presented to the 
Viceroy simply as a distinguished traveller, which 
General Stanton could not have refused me, and 
then had broached the subject of my expedition,* 
and asked the Viceroy himself for assistance, I 
should have been spared all the trouble I have had, 
and have had a better chance of success. This I 
explained to Haag, who saw the force of it. He 
suggested that I should ask the General to do 
so even now ; and said that if he could do any- 
thing to help me, he would. This was very kind 
of him. He stands well with the principal people 
here, being a friend of the Prince of Wales, by 
whom, I believe, he was introduced. He and Mr. 
Vivian, Mr. Elliott, and Mr. Rogers, have just been 
up the Nile in the Viceroy's private yacht with His 
Highness's personal attendants, &c. The Brindisi 
mail arrived at Alexandria to-day, and while we 
were at table, the Consul-General's despatch box 
was brought in. 


This morning I received a note from Messrs. 
Tod, Rathbone, & Co, of Alexandria, saying that 
my case of books is not in the manifest of the 
1 Malwa/ nor yet of the following Southampton 
steamer ' Cathay/ which had just arrived. I have 
written to them in reply, that as " passengers bag- 
gage" it would not be entered on the manifest. 
At luncheon I met Milne, whom I had not seen for 
twenty-four hours ! He was off yesterday afternoon 
fossilizing, and when he came back to dinner, I was 
occupied with Colonel Eyre. This morning he was 
up and away again before I rose. He is off again 
somewhere this afternoon, so that we now see little 
of one another. 

About 4.30 p.m., as I had just finished my 
article for the "Athenaeum," I was favoured 
with a visit from Miss M'Lellan, who very 
kindly came to say her father was waiting to take 
me on board his dahabieh to dine. They have 
a splendid boat, with eight sleeping-berths, and 
saloon handsomely furnished with sofas on the 
deck, an awning and side-curtains, forming a large 
room. They club with another family of three 
persons, and Mr. M'Lellan calculates that the trip of 
the two months will cost them ^400, or ^200 for 
each party. How you would like such a trip I They 


have their lady's-maid, with dragoman, native ser- 
vant, and cook ; and the crew consists of captain and 
mate, ten men, and a boy. We had a very decent 
dinner, and the crew amused (?) us by singing, ac- 
companied by the tambourine : so that altogether I 
passed a very pleasant evening. Milne was invited 
also, but through some misunderstanding he did not 
come till after dinner. I had a carriage home, 
which cost four shillings. Both Mr. M'Lellan and his 
wife gave you and me a most pressing invitation 
to visit them at Glasgow in the course of next 
autumn. When I returned to the hotel I fully 
expected to find letters from you, but there were 
none. I feel sure that you have written, and con- 
clude, therefore, that Tods of Alexandria delayed a 
post in sending them on. 

January 3. — Finding no letters from you when 
I went downstairs to breakfast at 8.30, as soon as 
I had finished I took a donkey-boy and went off 
to Moski to inquire. I there found Mr. W. sorting 
the letters received last night, one of them being 
for me, which he was on the point of sending off. 
It was yours of Christmas-day, from which I am 
rejoiced to see that you are better. What you 
tell me of there being no further subscriptions to my 
expedition is very discouraging. I really do not 


know what to do. I hurried off from England as I 
did, because I feared to be accused of wasting money 
and time that ought to be applied to another purpose. 
I am, however, far worse off here, for I am spending 
five times as much as I should have done in England 
had I stayed to complete the collection of the 
necessary funds ; and still there is nothing to show 
for it. God help me ! I am almost in despair t 
From Tod & Co.'s I went to the Bank of Egypt 
on business. 

It is said that the Khedive talks of a railway to 
Khartum, and even beyond, to which I see no 
objection. I spoke about flooding the Libyan 
Desert, which struck them much, and they recom- 
mended me to see the Khddive, who would be sure 
to receive me well. I am surprised I have not 
heard from De Lesseps ; I suppose he is away from 
Ismailia. On my way back home I called on Mr. J. 
Oppenheim. He asked me how I progressed, and 
I told him. I spoke of my desire to see the Viceroy, 
and asked if they could manage it ; but he said no 
one could do it but General Stanton, who could 
not object to present me as an English traveller of 
distinction ; only I must of course avoid speaking 
of my expedition in the first instance. The 
General might object on this ground, but hardly 


if I promised not to broach the subject. I feel the 
difficulty of my position ; but I must not leave a 
stone unturned. Through Nubar Pasha I expect 
nothing, though he might be disposed to help me 
if he saw the Khedive well disposed towards me. 
Mr.M'Lellan called at luncheon time at the hotel with 
his daughter to inquire for letters, and to take leave. 
We met in the hall, shook hands, and had a few words 
of ordinary conversation, and then said farewell. 

Janvwy 5. — Ease your mind about the two 
cases. I have just received from Messrs. Tod 
and Co. a letter from Messrs. Hickie, enclosing 
the key of the box you sent them, which fortu- 
nately they did not send by the ' Mai wa/ but by 
the following weeks steamer, the ' Cathay.' The 
bill of lading of the box, per ' Atlantic/ is also en- 
closed, so that there is now no difficulty in my going 
on in this respect. Since I wrote to you on Satur- 
day I have been thinking seriously over my posi- 
tion, and have come to the conclusion that I must 
go forward immediately, let the consequences be 
what they may. If, therefore, there is not a pros- 
pect of the Khedive giving me a steamer at once 
to perform the voyage up the Gulf of Akaba, which 
I so much desire, I have decided on going on to 
Suez, and chartering a native boat, or buggalah. I 


know what they are, as I came on in one from 
Djeddah to Suez in 1843. On Saturday I wrote to 
Mr. West inquiring about the Peninsula and 
Oriental Company's Steamer "Timsah," and also 
about a buggalah. 

I am now going to Messrs. Oppenheim and to 
General Stanton to tell them my determination. 
Through the latter I shall at all events be able to 
obtain a firman ordering the Mutsellim (or Gover- 
nor) of Kalaat-el-Akaba to help me. I cannot now 
tell you the result, as I must post this letter before 
I go out, or I shall be too late for the Marseilles 
mail. But I have thought it better to write to 
you about the cases, so as to prevent you from 
giving yourself any further anxiety on account of 
this, and also to ease your mind a little about 
myself. All will be for the best ; I trust in God. 
As for myself I have confidence in the knowledge 
that I am acting for the best under the circum- 
stances in which I am placed. Mr. Milne is going 
on well. I find him a much better artist than I had 
any idea of ; for he has painted some very pretty 
views of Cairo. He is getting a little nervous 
about the delay, as he wants to be back in England 
by the end of February or so. You know our 
agreement, or understanding, was, that I should not 

A FIRMAN. 219 

require his services for more than three mouths, 
and one month has already expired ! 

January 5. — The few lines I wrote to you this 
morning, via Marseilles, will have prepared you for 
what I have now to communicate. As soon as I 
had posted my letter I went to Oppenheim's, and 
saw Mr. Beyerld and Mr. Jacques Oppenheim ; the 
former, before I could say anything to him, volun- 
teered the advice that I should not wait in expec- 
tation of the Viceroy's agreeing to my request ; but 
that I should act independently. I told him this 
was what I intended to do, and that I had come to 
speak to him about a firman to the Mutsellim of 
Akaba. He said that I must apply for it through 
General Stanton ; but that he would back it with 
Nubar Pasha. I then went straight to General 
Stanton, but he was not in, so I directed my steps 
to the Consulate, where I had a long talk with my 
friend Kogers. He said that he could obtain for 
me a letter from the Governor of Cairo, and he 
would also give me one to him, as he has been in 
correspondence with him, though he does not know 
him personally. But when I said I wanted a fir- 
man, he replied that this I could only obtain 
through the Consul-General. So everything is 
centred in this one man. 


However, not disheartened, I went in the after- 
noon to General Stanton, who immediately said 
he would introduce me to Nubar Pasha, and at once, 
if I pleased. Whereupon he kindly sent off to the 
Minister's to know whether he was in his divan 
— at the Foreign Office ; and learning in the affir- 
mative, he at once took me off with him. Nubar 
Pasha received me most courteously. When the 
General asked if he had anything to say about 
the steamer, he shook his head ; but on his telling 
him that I had decided on going to Akaba in a 
native boat, and wanted a firman to the Governor 
of Akaba, he immediately replied he should be 
happy to do everything in his power for me, and 
would take the necessary steps immediately. Gene- 
ral Stanton had previously said to me that he 
thought the firman should be directed to the Sheikh 
of Akaba, who has the furnishing of camels, &c, to 
travellers going to Petra, but to this I objected, say- 
ing that I imagined the Governor would be the best. 
The Consul-General said that I must not expect the 
Government to order him to supply me with camels, 
or other animals, or, in fact, to do anything at their 
expense; but this, I said, I wished them to do; 
and on our way to Nubar Pasha's, I had explained 
to him how I was circumstanced as to the limited 


funds at my disposal for the expedition. He seemed 
to have forgotten that my journey was at the ex- 
pense of others ; but recollected all about it when 
I reminded him of it. 

When we spoke to Nubar Pasha, the General 
asked who was the proper person to whom the firman 
should be addressed, and the Minister seemed to 
think it was the Mutsellim ; but he did not know 
anything positive on the subject, or what the posi- 
tion of that officer is, or the strength of the detach- 
ment under his command. However, he promised 
he would see that everything proper was done. I 
had spoken to the General about the Khedive, and 
requested him, whilst Nubar Pasha was speaking to 
some one else, to ask His Excellency to present me ; 
but he replied, that I had better do this myself. 
So as soon as Nubar was disengaged, I did so, 
explaining my object, which was to speak about 
the Libyan Desert, and promising that I would not 
broach the subject of my own expedition. His 
Excellency seemed to take this in good part, and 
said he thought the Viceroy would be glad to see 
me. So he is to speak to His Highness and let me 
know. On this I took my leave. 

I know that you will be disappointed, as I am 
myself : but what is to be done otherwise ? I must 


move. Every day I stay here I am diminishing the 
funds for the journey ; and to wait for a favourable 
answer from the Khedive would be simply madness. 
Return I cannot, without having done what I came 
to do. As long as I was waiting for my instruments 
and books to arrive out, I could make an excuse to 
myself for waiting for the Viceroy's answer; but 
now that this excuse no longer exists, I am com- 
pelled to look the naked truth in the face. And I 
cannot but admit that there is not the slightest 
prospect of success. BeyerW said so of his own ac- 
cord ; and Nubar Pasha gave me so to understand 
this afternoon. He had not spoken to the Khddive, 
and ho never intends to do so, inasmuch as he 
would, in his capacity of Minister, advise Bis High- 
ness not to comply with my request It only re- 
mains for me to act independently. The journey 
overland I cannot undertake : first, because I am 
not capable of it physically ; secondly, because of 
the expense ; and thirdly, because I want to make 
the voyage up the Gulf of Akaha* The sea trip will 
cost nie very much less, and by economy and 
management* I flatter myself I shall be able to 
carry it into execution I can bear the sea — like 
it* in fact But thetv will be little of sea, for the 
boat will coast all the way* anchoring most pro- 

ABU NAB UT. 223 

bably all night, and taking good care not to leave 
if there is the slightest prospect of bad weather. I 
know them of old. If we are rather long on the 
voyage it cannot be helped. On every account, 
then, it is advisable we should start at once ; and 
therefore, having now made up my mind, you 
may rely on it I shall expedite matters as much as 

While I think of it, you had better address your 
letters to me at the " Post Office, Suez." The 
postage, I think, is only 8d., as it is an English 
post-office. The postmaster, I am informed, is Mr. 
Levick's son. 

January 6. — Yesterday, YakAb esh Shellaby 
told me he knew an old and experienced dragoman 
who would take me " sheepa " than any one else, 
and better too. This morning I just went as far as 
the Consulate to see whether he was there. Whilst 
I was writing to you, YakAb came in with a whole 
bagful of the certificates of SAyid Ahmed Abu 
Nabut, i.e., " Lord Ahmed, the man with a stick." 
He is a "nobleman," wearing a green turban, as 
being a descendant of the prophet, and therefore 
entitled to be called " S£yid." I looked at a few 
of the certificates which are certainly first rate, 
and I have no doubt he is a good man, unless, like 


me, he is too old for my hard work. However, I 
told YakAb I must first see Mr. Kogers, and then I 
would talk about engaging him. 

About eleven o'clock I went again to the Consulate 
and had a long friendly talk with Mr. Rogers, who 
promised he would give me letters to the Mutsellim, 
which might be of use to me. He then said that 
he had been seriously reflecting on what I had told 
him about my intended voyage by sea to Akaba, 
and he strongly recommended me not to undertake 
it. He said it was very hazardous, and besides, 
might be very tedious ; as, if there were bad weather, 
I might remain an indefinite period at some out of 
the way place unable to proceed. Then, too, the 
expense might be increased immensely by the pro- 
tracted voyage. He said much more to the same 
effect, and concluded with the strong recommen- 
dation that I should undertake the journey by land 
on a good quiet hoi % se or mule, about which there 
could be no difficulty or uncertainty ; the time being 
defined, and in all human calculation certain, and 
the expense being also defined and considerably 
less ! All these considerations had suggested them- 
selves to me ; indeed, so hesitating had I become 
on the subject, that, whereas I had intended to 
write to Mr. West at Suez, asking him to enter 


into treaty for a boat, I changed my mind, and put 
off doing so till to-morrow. I am glad I did, as I 
now see that the boat voyage will not do at all. 
But then the land journey ! If you were with me, 
I imagine you would strongly object to my under- 
taking it. Nevertheless, I feel that I could do it 
safely, if not altogether comfortably, on a good 
horse or mule. 

As I came out from the Consulate I met TakAb, 
to whom I communicated the alteration in my 
plans. He, too, was strongly in favour of the land 
route. If you were here with me what would you 
recommend me to do? I cannot throw up the 
affair ; and Milne, though a very clever fellow, and 
most useful assistant, is quite incompetent to go 
alone : so that if I do not go myself, the enterprise 
must be abandoned, and this I feel I cannot do. I 
am, thank God, in the enjoyment of better health 
than I have had for many years. I feel quite 
strong, and capable of enduring any reasonable 
fatigue, and, with God's help, I trust to get through 
the journey in health and Bafety. 

After writing the foregoing, I went out and 
called on Cook's head dragoman, Alexander 
Howard, to ask him how many days it is to Akaba 
from Suez direct. He does not know ; so he sent 


out to inquire, and got (as is usually the case) 
various answers— one man saying it was only four 
days. All at once he called out to a man passing 
by " Nabut ! " when an old man came in, whom I 
have often seen hanging about without knowing 
who he was. This was Yakftb esh Shellaby's " Abu 
Nabut." He appears to be an intelligent, sound, 
hale old man. I should hardly think he is more 
than sixty. He said the road is eight or nine days* 
easy travelling : and suggested that I might have a 
litter, or palanquin, hung between two camels, one 
before and one behind, which is not a bad idea, 
and I think would even be cheaper than buying a 
horse : it certainly would be easier for me. I must 
speak to Yakftb about it. So I wished them good 

There is one most remarkable thing Abu Nabut 
told us, namely, that near Ahaba is a mountain 
called Djebel-en-Nur (the mountain of light), on 
which, the Arabs say, God spoke to Moses I and, 
therefore, they stop and say their prayers there. I 
could not manage to extract from him its precise 
position. There is always so much indefiniteness 
and confusion with their " rights " and " lefts," be- 
hind and before, that one never can make anything 
out of what they say ; and Howard made it worse 


by pretending to know what in fact he knew no- 
thing about. I must try and get at the root of the 
matter through YakAb. I should not be surprised 
at being told that my discovery of Mount Sinai, 
like that of Harran, is nothing new, for that the 
natives knew all about it long before me 1 It is 
very singular, nevertheless. Milne has just come 
in from the petrified forest, where he has been all 
day. I told him of my change of plans, when he 
simply asked, when we should start ? That Djebel- 
en-Nur sticks in my gizzard. Mind it is not 
u Nor," which means "Jire" but "Niir" " light/ 

January 7. — I got up very hoarse, but a cup of 
warm coffee and going out in the sun improved it 
a good deal, and I have no doubt I shall soon be 
all right again. To-day has been a busy day. I 
first went to Mr. Beyerld, who has been away on a 
shooting expedition with Sheriff Pasha. We talked 
of the progress I was making with Nubar Pasha, 
and he said he thought the firman would obtain for 
me every assistance in the power of the Mutsellim 
to give ; but he did not think this would be 
much. We spoke about the Viceroy and the 
steamer. He said candidly that he had hoped to 
get it for me, and had not matters changed, and 
looked so bad lately, he might have counted 


on succeeding. But it is not so, and that is 

I have omitted to say that when I got up this 
morning I found at my door a letter from Mr. 
West, saying that the "Timsah" would cost £120 
per day, or perhaps £ 1 50, even supposing I could 
have it, which I could not, without authority from 
London. The Khddives boats are all engaged 
with pilgrims, except one which has been ordered 
to Massowah, and which I think I might have had, 
had General Stanton pressed it. But it is of no 
use complaining. A native boat Mr. West does 
not consider " prudent " or " expeditious " at this 
time of year. On this point we are d'hccord : so 
there is an end of Suez. 

I now went to talk with Yakfib. On my way 
I was accosted by another dragoman, Mohammed 
Abu something, who asked me five pounds, 
and then came down to four pounds per diem; 
I paying extra for the takkterawdn, or palan- 
quin, that is to say, buying it myself, and also 
paying for an extra camel to carry it I said I 
would think it over. He did not know the country, 
however, though he said he had been once to 
Akaba, but no further. With Yaktib and also 
with Mr. Rogers I had a long talk about Abu 


Nabut; inquired about his character through the 
Chancellier of the Consulate, and after a great deal 
of talk I agreed to give him five pounds per day 
for twenty-five days from Cairo, or £125; with 
five pounds for each day extra. This to include 
takJUerawdn, and everything ; half the amount to 
be paid down, and the remainder on our return to 
Cairo. So I shall not go to Suez at all. Going 
from Cairo is an extra expense, but then we save 
railway to Suez, and the expense of the hotel 
there, &c., so that it is not all loss. 

I think I see my way, especially as I now feel 
persuaded that Djebel-en-Nur is one of the three 
mountains seen by Dean Stanley. Abu Nabut had 
told Yakfib that three mountains were to be seen 
from the plain of the Arabah near Akaba, of which 
the Djebel-en-Nur is one, and that when we get 
there, he will show it me through the telescope ! 
What a wonderful thing it will be! and Dean 
Stanley saw it without knowing it, just as Dr. 
Porter went to Harran without knowing it to be 
" the Harran." l When I came back from the 
Consulate I found letters from Messrs. Tod advising 
me of the despatch of my two cases by railway, 
the agent here saying I may expect them to-day or 

1 See Mm. Beke's "Jacob's Flight." Introd. p. 5. 


to-morrow. So this is all right, and everything 
seems to be going on as well as I could desire; 
were it not for the confounded question of JUUss : 
but we will try and remedy this as you shall see. 

The takhterawdn, or palanquin, will be shown me 
on approval : it seems to be a sort of easy chair, in 
which I think I may manage to sit for a few hours 
each day. I told Milne I thought of starting 
shortly. All he asked was a few hours' notice to 
pack up his mineralogical specimens! He has 
found some very interesting ones. I shall get him 
to make drawings of all the stations of the chil- 
dren of Israel from Succoth to the Encampment by 
the Red Sea, and thence to Rephedim and Sinai. 
After luncheon I went to the Consulate, and finally 
agreed terms with Abu Nabut — thirty days at five 
pounds per day, or £150, and five pounds for every 
day extra. 

I have another proof that I am right I spoke 
to Abu Nabut about " Jethro's Cave," which I wish 
Milne to go and see. He thought I meant a cave 
which ho says is in the mountain near Akalxi, 
exactly where I place Pi-ha-hiroth — the mouth of 
the caverns I I start from Cairo direct, and shall 
not enter Suez, but I shall write to you from thence, 
and shall come back to Cairo direct Your letters 


you must therefore send to the care of Mr. Rogers 
here, and you must forward me whatever money you 
get. God help me ! and yet I am sure He will not 
abandon me in this momentous undertaking. Mo- 
hammed, who asked four pounds per diem, had the 
conscience to say he should want £102 for extras. 
So after all Abu Nabut is the "sheepest" Mr. 
Rogers has interested himself most kindly in the 
matter, and thinks I could not have done better. 
I have a thoroughly experienced man, and a 
Sherrif, which is always of value amongst these 
people. The Hadj left for Mecca on the 1 8th of 
last month, so that the road is clear. 

You have sent me some white clothes; but I 
don't feel inclined to wear them, for washing is 
such a frightful price here. They charge four 
pence each for collars and pocket handkerchiefs, 
and I do not know that they do not charge the 
same for each stocking ! It is ruination living here : 
I shall indeed be thankful to be off. Colonel 
Morrieson has kindly called to say that he is going 
to the Pyramids to-morrow, and will take Milne 
with him, if he likes. Of course he accepts the 
kind offer, not so much on account of the Pyra- 
mids themselves, as because it will afford him an 
opportunity of measuring the dip of the Sphinx. 


What a queer fellow he is I He has been out all 
day and brought home some skulls ! The Ameri- 
can artists have said they are coming out to see 
us off, and to take a sketch of my caravan 1 My 
expedition is talked of a good deal, I find. 

January 8. — Milne is off to the Pyramids, and I 
have been to see Abu Nabut, YakAb esh Shellaby, 
and Mr. Rogers, about the takkterawdn, having 
doubts as to its jolting too much. They assure me 
it will not, and Mr. Rogers tells me he has ridden 
in one himself. I am now told that Nabut will not 
be ready to start till Monday morning, so that we 
shall have two days more at this hotel, Pazienza ! 
I have corrected my "Notes from Egypt," and 

written a letter to Mr. M , which please send 

off to him. I have also written a few lines to Mr. 
Bolton, at Stanford's, which you will send likewise. 
I have told him to keep the information " private," 
by which I mean that he should not publish it, 
though I do not object at all to his talking about 
it. I enclose a letter to Mr. Bates, the Secretary 
of the Royal Geographical Society. 1 send all to 
you ; both in order that you may see what I say, 
and also in order to save postage. I have written 
to our friend Mr. Thurburn, asking him to assist 
you as to the remittance of funds. It may be that 


the best course will be, if you are pressed for time, 
to get him to telegraph through the Bank of Egypt 
in London, to their agent here at Cairo, to pay 
me at once whatever money you may have to 
send me. This would save my being delayed in 
Egypt on my return, and the consequent expense 
of my staying at the hotel to receive your remit- 
tance by letter. 

I feel carried away by the inward conviction that 
I am right, and that all things will work together 
for my good. I feel that I am doing the work of 
the Almighty, and that He will not desert me 
whilst in His service. I cannot resist the impulse 
— I would call it inspiration — but I fear to be 
thought profane and presumptuous, which carries 
me on beyond the bounds of reason, and what is 
called common sense. I feel myself called on to do 
this work, and do it I must, let the consequences 
be what they may. Besides which I cannot turn 
back. Bear with and help me, as, indeed, I know 
you will, to the utmost in your power. All will 
yet come right, I feel assured, however black 
things may look just at present. Thank God, I 
keep my health pretty well, and I have taken no 
medicine, except Dr. Garrod's prescription : but I 
am getting tired of the hotel food, and wish I was 


away. My cold has nearly left me. The weather 
appears to be setting in fine ; though it has been 
very cold. 

After luncheon I went to the Consulate to sign 
the contract with Abu Nabut, and paid him the 
balance of first half. Then, not having heard any- 
thing about the firman, I went to General Stanton. 
He had heard nothing, and recommended me to go 
to Nubar Pasha's divan, at the Foreign Office. 
There I told my business to his secretary — Somebody 
Bey — and was asked to take a seat. After a while 
His Excellency came out, and told me in the most 
gracious manner, that His Highness would have much 
pleasure in receiving me on Saturday morning at 
half -past ten or eleven o'clock at the Palace of Abdin. 
I thanked him, and said I would not fail to present 
myself to His Highness at the appointed time. I 
then asked about my firman, when His Excellency 
said it should be made out and sent to me at my 
hotel, so that I need not trouble myself to call. 
He shook hands with me most cordially, advancing 
towards the door of the anti-chambre, in which we 
were ; and so thanking him, to which he replied, 
" II n'y a pas de quoi," I left. I thought it only 
right to go and tell General Stanton. He had 
not heard of it ; but said that he would probably 


be at the Palace on Saturday himself. He informs 
me I have only to send up my card, and Nubar 
Pasha will present me. I don't expect any good to 
come of it. However, what I asked for in this 
respect at least, I have got. With regard to my 
funds for the continuation of our journey I find 
matters are not so bad as I had fancied they were. 
I had made a mistake either in my accounts, or in 
my cash ; for I had taken it into my head that the 
hotel expenses, which will be some forty shillings 
per day, were forty shillings for each of us I All at 
once I have discovered my mistake. I have been 
sitting quietly in my room all the evening making 
notes about Beduins, &c, for the journey, and I am 
now going to bed to sleep, as I trust, in peace. 

January 9. — During the night I have been 
thinking of what Mr. West wrote to me about the 
steamer of the Viceroy, which is going from Suez to 
Massowah. This is the vessel about which Nubar 
Pasha spoke, saying that she could not be spared ; 
though he did not tell me that she had not gone to 
Massowah, but was doing duty as a tug in the Suez 
Canal, while one of the Canal tugs was taking Mr. 
Vivian to Port Said. I have now thought that if 
she has not yet left Suez, but is going immediately, 
the Viceroy, might be induced to let her so far 


deviate from her direct course as to take me to 
Akaba, with my suite, the camels being ordered 
on to Akaba to meet me there. This would really 
be & fluke — almost too good to come true. But it is 
worth trying for. So I went off this morning the 
first thing to Mr. Beyerld, and pressed him strongly 
to use his influence with Nubar Pasha, which he 
promised to do. His Excellency is not at busi- 
ness to-day, it being the Mohammedan Sabbath, 
and General Stanton is out shooting with Sheriff 
Pasha, so nothing can be done with him till to- 

I then called on Mr. Rogers to ask him for his 
promised letters, which he says he will have 
written. We talked about my taking small money. 
He advises me to take half copper and half silver ; 
but I have decided to take one pound in copper 
to three in silver. I have bought a Tcefiya from 
Yakfrb for my hat, and Milne has also bought 
one. They are very necessary, as you know, being 
so great a protection against the sun. On Mr. 
Rogers's recommendation, I shall also take with me 
about twenty-five pounds in gold to give to Abu 
Nabut on the journey, in case he should be in need 

of it. 
The takhterawdn is something like a London 


cab, only cot cm wheels, and without fixed sideB 
and top ; but these are supplied by means of cur- 

tains which may be drawn or not h discretion, 
forming, in fact, sometimes an open, and at others 
a closed cab. It has a mattress and cushion to sit 
upon, and a sloping footboard on which to rest the 
feet, instead of being stretched out, as I expected 
they would be. Mr. Kogers told me it would be 
fixed on the two poles attached to the camels, 
which would have made it jolt dreadfully ; but 
Yakub esh Shellaby has remedied this by suspend- 
ing the takhterawdn to the poles by means of ropes, 
which will serve as springs or something like them 
— the poles themselves being slung beside the 
camels, one before and one behind. It is a rough 
sort of contrivance, but not altogether uncom- 



fortable. It is certain I could not perform the land 
journey without a palanquin, and even so, I should 
be well glad if I were saved the land journey to 
Akaba. Besides the saving of fatigue, it would 
give me more time there, so that by the time 
the camels arrived, I might be ready to start for 
Suez, and thus be back within the month. This 
afternoon Colonel Morrieson came to ask me and 
Milne to go out with him for a ride, but I declined 
with thanks. Milne is gone. Abu Nabut has 
been to ask whether I would let him have some 
more money at Akaba in case he should want it : 
this I expected, and therefore consented. Your 
remittance had better be sent to me in circular 
notes. I do not want you to pay money into the 
Bank of Egypt except in case of absolute necessity. 
This bank is, I am told, dearer in their terms than 
any other house. Tod, Rathbone, & Co. give half 
per cent., that is, ten shillings in a hundred pounds 
more than the bank. I trust I shall receive your 
letters before I start, so that I may answer them ; 
and also know how you are : I should not like to 
start without. 

January 10. — A most eventful day. In the first 
place, I received in the morning your dear letter of 
December 31st and January 1st, and am glad to 


hear you are so much better, though still not quite 
well.- I am much pleased with your letter to the 
"Times," which was very cleverly done. I had 
already seen it in the newspaper of December 
30th, which was in the reading-room before your 
letter arrived. I also saw the notice in the later 
paper, without knowing it was from you. I 
am glad I got your letter before I went to the 
Khedive, because it refreshed my memory. I am 
only sorry I did not get the extract from my 
"Idol in Horeb," which I found on my re- 
turn from the Palace. It is precisely what I 
was in want of; and now to tell you what 

At 10.30 a.m. I started for the Palace of Abdin 
dressed in black, with frock-coat, and black neck- 
tie, being, as I am, in mourning. On my arrival 
at the Palace I was asked my name, whereupon I 
gave my card. My visit being expected, I was 
requested to walk into the waiting-room, where 
there was sitting one of the persons in attendance — 
I don't know his rank — who addressed me as Mons. 
le Docteur, and requested me to be seated. Coffee 
was soon served to us both, in the ordinary finjoi 
with filigree stand. Other persons came in on busi- 
ness, for whom also coffee was brought, and I was 


asked to take a second cup, but I declined. Here they 
drink coffee all day, as you know. After a quarter of 
an hour or so, during which I employed myself 
reading your letter, an attendant came in, to say 
that His Highness waa prepared to receive me. I 
rose, but was told to wait for a minute or two. 
Another official then came, and said His Highness 
was ready to receive me, and asked me to accompany 
him. We then went up a broad staircase, thickly 
carpeted, two flights apparently, when I was shown 
into a room, in which were several officers richly 
dressed, and others in attendance. From a side 
room, which was filled with smoke as if it were a 
sanctuary-mark this as a matter for after consi- 
deration — Nubar Pasha issued, and shook hands 
with me, and took me to an inner room, close to 
the door of which I was met by a gentleman of 
about forty years of age, or perhaps not so much, 
dressed in the usual European dress, with frock- 
coat and tarbush : he shook hands with me most 
cordially, and asked me to walk in. I followed 
him into a further inner room, not quite clear in 
my own mind whether he was really the Khddive, 
whom I had expected to find seated in his 
Divan — as I had found Mohammed Ali Pasha in 
1 840 — but these doubts were removed as soon as I 


saw there was no one else in the room, and by his 
desiring me to sit down on a sofa, he himself taking 
an arm-chair close to the window. 

Ismail Pasha is a very short, thick-set man. He 
has a fine intelligent face, and seems very good- 
natured. No one could be more amiable and court- 
eous in his behaviour, which was that of one gentle- 
man conversing on equal terms with another. Nubar 
Pasha sat in a chair near the Viceroy's end of the 
room, facing him. The conversation was commenced 
in French by the Foreign Minister, who explained to 
His Highness the object of my journey, &c, to which 
the Viceroy listened attentively, and seemed as if 
interested ; a pause ensuing, I said that the object 
of my soliciting the honour of being allowed to pay 
my respects to His Highness was, that in 1840 I 
had passed through Egypt, and had paid my re- 
spects to Mohammed Ali Pasha of blessed memory, 
and that I wished to do the same to His Highness. 

He expressed surprise at my having been in 
Abyssinia ; so I had to explain all about my repre- 
sentations made to the British Government so long 
in vain, and what the late Mr. E. Egerton, Under- 
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, had said to 
me, when it was too late to save the country 

£9,000,000, namely, "Dr. Beke, if the Govern- 



ment had Mowed your advice and policy, there 
would have been no Abyssinian captives, and no 
Abyssinian war ! " This gave rise to the remark 
that persons in authority did not like to follow the 
advice of savants — or, as I added, persons out of their 
own circle — those not belonging to their own corps* 
I cannot repeat the precise words that were used on 
the subject, on which we all three had our say. 

I then passed to the subject of my scheme for 
flooding the Libyan Desert, as a means of sup- 
pressing the slave trade. 1 The Khddive said he 
could not understand how it was known to be below 
the level of the ocean : he did not think it had ever 
been levelled. I spoke of the advantage it would be 
to commerce and civilisation to bring the sea near 
to Kordofan and Darf&r ; 2 to which His Highness 
assented, but doubted the practicability, not to 
speak of the expense. As to the idea attributed 
to M. de Lesseps, of turning the waters of the 
Nile into the Desert, it was absurd. I mentioned 
that Dr. Schweinfurth had told me of the French 
project to inundate the Sahara behind Algiers. 8 
The Khedive said he did not know that Dr. 
Schweinfurth was, or had been, in Egypt. He told 

1 See "Egypt As It Is," pp. 329-374. * Ibid. 170. 
3 This project is now actually in course of operation. 


me that a Russian subject, but had 
undertaken his journey for Germany. 

I next spoke of my having interested myself in 
the growth of cotton in Egypt ; and that I had pre- 
sented a " Memoir " on the subject to Said Pasha ; 
and had published several papers on the matter. 1 
But that in Said Pasha's time Egypt was not what it 
is now, and therefore I had not succeeded in accom- 
plishing what I wished. My project then was to 
connect Taka with Suakin by a Tram or Canal, and 
later by a Railway. 9 To this His Highness said, 
the one was nearly, if not quite, as expensive as 
the other, in the first cost ; and as to the railway 
wood could be found to take the place of coal. 
This I doubt, but I did not care to say so. 

I had now been with the Khddive more than a 
quarter, indeed the best part of half, an hour. I 
paused, and was looking towards Nubar Pasha, as 
if to receive a signal from him to leave, when an 
animated conversation took place between the 
Khedive and His Excellency in Turkish, of which 
I understood only one word, "pecki," meaning 

1 "The Idol in HoreV p. 91. London : Tinsley Brothers. 1871. 

1 It would appear that this scheme has been adopted by the Viceroy 
at the instance of Mr. Fowler, to whom Dr. Beke also communicated 
his plan. See " The Khedive's Egypt/' pp. 353~357 \ " Egypt As It 
Is," p. 239. 


"yes," "good," "very well" — assent generally — 
which the Prince kept repeating in reply to what 
his minister said. Nubar Pasha then rose, and I did 
the same. The Khedive rose also, and on my thank- 
ing him for the honour he had done me, he asked 
how long I expected to be absent, " a month or so ? " 
and whether I returned by the way of Cairo. On 
my replying in the affirmative, His Highness said, 
shaking hands with me most heartily, " Alors h, 
votre retour j'aurai le plaisir de vous serrer la 
main." I again thanked him and took leave ; but 
His Highness accompanied me out of the inner 
room, and halfway (at least) across the second 
room ; where I again bowed and left. What think 
you of this reception ? But this is not all. As we 
descended the stairs, I said to Nubar Pasha, " Excel- 
lence, I said nothing to His Highness about the 
steamer as I promised, but I have now to tell 
you that I have heard " — and I was beginning to 
repeat what Mr. West had told me — when he 
stopped me by saying, to my surprise, "His 
Highness has ordered me to communicate with 
M?Killop Bey to know whether it is practicable 
to give you a passage to Akaba ; and if it can be 
done it shall." I could scarcely believe this, espe- 
cially when he added, "I must telegraph to 


M?Killop Bey, who is at Alexandria, and will let 
you know when I get his reply." On my express- 
ing my hope that it might be managed, he said 
it rested entirely with M?Killop, who had the 
entire charge of the Marine. His Excellency was 
then going to pay a few visits — I had accompanied 
him down to the entrance, where he got into his 
carriage — and would go and telegraph immediately 
to Alexandria, he said. I got into my carriage, and 
drove off likewise ; on my way calling at Messrs. 
Tod's to pay some money for postage and expenses, 
and then home. 

On my way I met Mr. Beyerld, to whom I told the 
good news. He was surprised, as only this morning 
he had spoken to Nubar Pasha, who told him it 
could not be done. I have not much expectation 
myself ; but I thought I might do what I could to 
help it ; so I sat down instantly and wrote a letter 
to my friend Mr. Fleming, asking him to intercede 
with his friend MfKillop Bey, and also with 
Fedrigo Pasha. I had only time to write a few 
hurried lines, and as I was already too late for the 
town post, I had to send a donkey-boy off with my 
letter to the railway station. I must not omit to 
say that before leaving the Khedive's presence, I 
heard Nubar Pasha speak about a "firman," to 


which was replied "pecki," with a reverence on 
the part of His Excellency, to show that the order 
would be obeyed. Whilst I was finishing my letter to 
Fleming, Mr. 0., a visitor, on his way from India to 
England — a Madras civil servant — came and wished 
to speak to me. Milne had already told me he was 
much interested in my expedition, and introduced 
him to me — I mean before I left for Abdin ; and he 
had evinced so much interest in my journey and 
its object, that I had given him a copy of my pam- 
phlet. He now came to propose that he should join 
me. Milne had told me he seemed much inclined to 
do so. To cut a long matter short, he consented to 
give me £2, 10s. per diem if he went with me. 

While I think of it, I wish you to say nothing 
about " Djebel-en-Nur." From what Abu Nabut 
tells me, I imagine it must be on the wrong side of 
the Wady Arabah, and therefore not my Mount 
Sinai. But if so, I suspect I have heard before of 
this " Mount Sinai " somewhere. The subject must 
be left till I know something definite. I enclose you 
the agreement entered into between Mr. Milne and 
myself. It is dated to-day ; but was, in fact, signed 
last night. I know he is afraid we shall not be 
back in England by the end of February. As far 
as the matter rests with me, we shall, for I am as 



anxious and nervous on the subject as he can pos- 
sibly be. Master Abu Nabut has been and done 
me out of another ten pounds on account. He is a 
Nubian, a people noted for their fidelity, and he 
seems an honest fellow, so I hope all will go well 

Now to answer your dear letter this evening as 
I must post mine to-morrow morning before church. 
You managed the " Times " letter very nicely. You 
are at liberty to make up as many letters as you 
please from what I write to you : having more time 
for consideration, you will often express yourself 
better than I do in my hurry, and you can leave 
out anything you do not approve of. By-the-by 
General Stanton was not at the Palace; at all 
events I did not see him. He has been most civil 
and obliging as far as forms go, and I have no sub- 
stantial ground, or wish for believing him not to be 
willing to serve me, if he could do so, without 
putting himself much out of the way. I have now 
written likewise to Mr. Kay, and to Fedrigo Pasha, 
asking for their interest with M?Killop Bey. I do 
not wish to leave a single stone unturned. 

On my return I shall want one hundred and 
fifty pounds, or, perhaps, I ought to say two hun- 
dred ; of course, Milne will go on to England direct 
through Egypt ; but I must stop a few days here 


myself, in order to see the Viceroy, as His Highness 
has invited me to do so. I have written to the 
publishers about my book, and, if I have time for 
this post, I will send you both this letter and one 
to Mr. Heugh to forward. You will see what I 
say. If you think fit you can enclose in the pub- 
lisher's letter a copy of my agreement with Mr. 
Milne ; and, should I die, you must write my book 
for me, from my materials. I will endeavour to 
make them as complete as possible during the jour- 
ney ; but I trust in God, who has so far protected 
me, to bring me home safely. 

I see in the " Times " of the alteration in our old 
firm in King William Street, which is now Blyth, 
Greene, Jourdain & Co. What lucky fellows Burn- 
Blyth and Jourdain are ! It is now just twelve 
o'clock, and I am so sleepy I must really go to bed. 
My cough is still a little troublesome ; but only 
wants change of air to remove it altogether. If I 
am successful I will date you a telegram from " the 
Crater of Mount Sinai," which please therefore, 
enter in your list of telegram cyphers against the 
word " Palace." The beauty of the word-tdegrams 
is, that if even they should happen to be misspelt, 
it does not signify. 

January i x . — This morning I must finish, and 


post my letters before going to church, so that I 
cannot give you any positive news about the steamer 
and the firman, or about our starting. I am to 
see the takkterawdn to-day. The tent was seen by 
Milne and others yesterday ; it is set up behind the 
New Hotel, and is said to be a very good one. It is 
like ours in Syria, namely, the ordinary kind, and 
not like the swell tents we took with us from 
Edgingtons to Abyssinia. I have bought some 
whisky and brandy to take with us on the journey, 
an umbrella, and sundry little articles. If I get the 
steamer to Akaba I shall try to keep her long 
enough to allow me to ascertain the substantial 
correctness of my views; in which case I shall 
write to Munzinger Bey, to telegraph the news to 
General Stanton, whom I shall ask to publish it. 

It would be very curious if the news reached 
Europe via Massowah! There is now a Govern- 
ment telegraph line to that place. I shall be glad 
to get away from here on Milne's account as well 
as on my own. He wants to be actively employed. 
Having used up all the geological facts that this 
bare region presents to him, he is now hard at 
work, studying Arabic, Italian, and French. I 
wish you would send me out a copy of my " Idol 
in Horeb," containing the paper (Appendix B) on 


the Nile, for me to make use of on my return ; 
or the leaves would be enough, as they contain 
all that I require to communicate to the Viceroy. 
Tinsley will give them to you if you ask him. 

January 1 1, continued. — On my way to church, 
after posting my letter, I met our friend Mr. 
W. E. Cooke, the artist, who had just arrived 
in company with Professor Owen, and Mr. Fowler, 
the Khedive's engineer. I spoke to Cooke about 
my expedition, and gave him a copy of my 
pamphlet, which he said he would look at. Pro- 
fessor Owen, perhaps, I may see when I return. 
He is staying at Mr. Fowler's. Mr. Cooke is at 
the New Hotel. Now that the time of departure 
draws nigh, I am getting nervous and " funky." I 
feel as if I should like to go back, if I could. You 
know it is all fidgetiness; for if I were offered 
the option of giving it up, I should of course re- 
fuse. Still, I cannot help feeling nervous. I am 
off my feed, and shall be so till I am off. I ought 
not to tell you all this ; but you know me so well 
that I may just as well say it, lest you should 
imagine me to be so exaltS as not to possess any 
longer my ordinary feelings. No ; I look at the 
matter in all its bearings, and I see and feel that I 
have no easy task before me, but one which will 


require all my strength, and resolution, and pre- 
sence of mind, to enable me to cany it through. 

As I came out of church I saw Mrs. Stanton, 
and asked her whether it would be convenient for 
General Stanton to see me to-day. She said, "Yes, 
at two o'clock." After lunch, I was just goiug out, 
when a polite note came from Mrs. Stanton, say- 
ing that the General has an engagement at two 
o'clock, but asking me to go and dine there, 
when I should be able to say good-bye to them. 
Of course I accept, though I meant to be packing 
up ; so I must do it now. But this going out to 
dine is a bother. This morning I was caught 
in a tolerably heavy shower of rain — in this place 
where it never used to rain — and had to take 
shelter in the tent. 

I want to sit down and write some letters, but 
my hand shakes with pulling the boxes about and 
packing, and my mind shakes with thinking about 
all things. I wish it was all over, and I on my 
way home. How happy I should then be I In 
talking with a dragoman about Djebel-en-Nur, he 
tells me it is seen from " Mount Sinai," sixty-miles 
off. It cannot, therefore, be one of the Sinaitic 
group by any possibility. I think it must cer- 
tainly be a mountain of the range marked on the 


map as Djebel-et-Tih, extending across from Suez 
to Akaba to the south of the Hadj road. If so I 
must see it on my right hand, as I approach 
Akaba. I daresay you think I am troubling my- 
self with what ought not to concern me ; but it 
does concern me, on account of the " tradition," 
which I expect to find to be of older date than 
that of the " Sinai of Tourists," and is most impor- 
tant to be used as an argument. 

11.15 p.m. — I am just back from General Stanton's. 
There was only a small party, Colonel [now Sir J.] 
Stokes, R.E., one of the Suez Canal Commissioners, 
who has just arrived from Constantinople, and is 
staying with the Stantons ; a Mr. Greenfield, the 
contractor for the Alexandria Breakwater; Mr. 
Clarke, the chaplain ; and myself. Nothing parti- 
cular took place. General Stanton was with the 
Khedive this morning (not yesterday), but I was not 
alluded to; in fact, the General forgot all about 
me. I told him of my reception, and he cannot 
make out where it took place. He never was at any 
place answering my description, and thought my 
reception was very marked ! He could not under- 
stand how I should have imagined that Nubar 
Pasha would hand me over to a master of the 
ceremonies, or allow any one, in fact, to introduce 


me but himself ; to which I replied that I was not 
very familiar with Court etiquette. I only recollect 
that the Khedive's grandfather, Mohammed Ali 
Pasha, received me sitting on his Divan, and I 
naturally concluded that there would have been 
rather more ceremony. The fact seems to be that 
I was received in the Viceroy's private apartments. 
I told the General I intended starting to-morrow. 
He said, he thought I might stay two or three 
days longer, and let the camels go on to Suez 
without me, although he admitted that the firman, 
and the notice about the steamer, could be sent on 
to me at Suez, and also that I should be quite right 
in going to Nubar Pasha to-morrow morning, as I 
intend doing. So I took leave of him and Mrs. 
Stanton till my return from Mount Sinai. Of 
course, I had their best wishes, &c, &c. 

January 1 2. — You will not be prepared for the 
blessed news I have to tell you. This morning, 
after breakfast, I called on Nubar Pasha to ask 
about the firman, and to say I was off to-day. I 
went to his private residence, which is much like 
that of any European gentleman. A female servant 
was taking up the breakfast-things as I went in. 
After waiting nearly half an hour His Excellency 
came to me, and presented me with the firman, 


and he then put into my hand, to read, a despatch 
from MfKillop Bey, saying I could have the steamer 
to take me to Akaba. I could hardly hold the paper 
for joy I If I had only known this atjirst I should 
have naturally altered my arrangements. As it is, 
I am bound by my contract with Abu Nabut, the 
only difference being that he will go straight on to 
Suez, where I shall meet him by train, and then take 
him and the cook on board with me, so we shall get 
to Akaba much quicker by ship than by caravan. 
This will involve an extra expense for hotel bill 
here and at Suez. But on the other hand it will 
very much shorten the length of the entire journey, 
for which I am most thankful. I shall not now 
leave Cairo till Wednesday morning. Nubar Pasha 
has telegraphed to M?Killop Bey to ask when the 
steamer will be ready. MfKillop says it will take 
four days for the voyage, and then three days back 
to Tor, to coal. Of course I thanked His Excel- 
lency most warmly. 

With reference to Mr. O.'s accompanying us, 
I had almost arranged with Abu Nabut for a 
third traveller, when Mr. 0. told me he is on 
his way home to be married, and expects to be 
called to England before the end of February, and 
on reflecting well over the matter, he did not see 


how he could be absolutely sure of being back in 
time ; and in such a delicate matter as marriage, he 
could not break his engagement. If he could make 
sure of being back here by the middle of February, 
nothing would delight him more than to go with me. 
I have explained to Mr. Milne that, as he is 
pressed for time it might suit his convenience to 
go straight on from Suez by steamer through the 
Canal when we return, to which he seems to have 
no objection. I am in such a whirl in consequence 
of this unexpected good luck, that I scarcely know 
how to set about what I have still to do. My first 
task is to communicate this good news to you. I 
have seen Mr. Rogers who is having the letters 
written to the Sheikh of Akaba, and the Mfidir — 
that is his Egyptian title — Mutsellim, is Turkish. 
My firman is addressed to the Sheikh. He is to 
render me every assistance, &c, but nothing is said 
about expenses. I. must be glad to take what I can 
get. Please God all will go well. Do your best, 
dear, to help me, as I know you will. I am now 
going to see Mr. Fowler before I leave, and have 
a talk with him about a Canal from Taka to 
Suakin. This was Sir William Fairbairn's sug- 
gestion to me, instead of a Tramway. 1 

1 ' The Idol in Horeb.' Appendix B, p. 104. 


January 1 2, continued. — I sent you very good 
news about the steamer this morning via Mar- 
seilles. I shall telegraph shortly to you to-morrow, 
in order to anticipate my last gloomy letter via 
Brindisi. The cases and Milne's London package 
have gone off with the camels. My camels with 
the takhterawdn stop behind, because Abu Nabut 
and Yakfib esh Shellaby have managed to "mis- 
understand my instructions." The chair of which 
it in reality consists is without any covering. As 
I told you, I consented to its not being closed in 
like a cab with windows, &c., but not that it should 
be without covering against the rain and the sun. 
But they pretend that when I waived the one I 
waived the other. This caused a bit of a row, and 
they hurried off to do as I intended they should. 
In the course of half an hour I am to see how they 
have complied with my wishes. If I am riot satis- 
fied, I tell them I will not go with Abu Nabut. 
The contract is for a takhterawdn, not a mere open 
chair, so I am clearly in the right. Meanwhile I 
have been to tell General Stanton of my good news. 
He congratulated me, but said he did not expect it. 

In the morning I was going to call on Professor 
Owen, and through him to make the acquaintance 
of Mr. Fowler; but on the way I met him 


coming to my hotel, though not to call on me, of 
whom indeed he knew nothing. We walked 
together to the hotel, and had an interesting talk 
about my views, in which he substantially agrees ; 
or, I should rather say, he goes much beyond me ; 
believing, like Colenso, not in the untruth of the 
history as interpreted, but in the history itself I I 
spoke about Mr. Fowler, and he told me that the 
best time was to call on him towards sunset. As 
I had to go again to look at the takkterawdn, I went 
towards his house rather earlier than Owen said, and 
luckily met Mr. Fowler just as he was coming out, 
on his way to Nubar Pasha's Divan. I walked with 
him, and explained to him my plan for a Canal 
between Taka and Suakin, which, he said, would 
be much more expensive than a railway, and, there- 
fore, was not to be thought of. 1 I gave him, how- 
ever, my paper a which you sent me, when he said 
he would look it over carefully. I then gave him 
a copy of my " Mount Sinai a Volcano," a subject 
in which, to my surprise, he seemed more interested 
than in my Canal. He condemned Owen's open 
assertion of his opinions, even if permissible 
among men of science. My moderate views he 

1 See " The Khedive's Egypt," p. 353. 

1 See " The Idol in Horeb," Appendix B. 




tion to bim, when I said that I knew Mrs. Tuck, 
Mr. West's step-daughter. This was not the be- 
ginning of the conversation. He at first congratu- 
lated me on my having got the steamer, and asked 
me when I started. I told him that my camels 
started to-day, and that I hoped to follow them 
in a couple of days ; when he said that he should 
like to have some further conversation with me 
respecting my journey, if I would allow him, to 
which I, of course, assented. I must tell you that 
yesterday he had called my attention to your letter 
in the "Times," which he fancied I might not 
have seen t After dinner he asked me into his 
room, which is on the ground floor near the 
dining-room. I had some time ago given him a 
copy of my pamphlet, he having spoken to me 
about my expedition. He is a busy, and to some 
extent an influential, person in this country, as being 
the head of the European Telegraph Company in 
Kjjvpt, and as far as Aden. Well, what he wanted 
to know was the route I purposed taking when I 
Ht art oil, &c. I knew perfectly well his object ; but 
*aw wo reason why I should not tell him what I 
make no secret of with any one. I told him of 
the steamer being under orders to go to Maasowah, 
to Ik* under the orders of Munzinger Bey, which led 


to a conversation about this latter, when Mr. Gibbs 
said that he is no longer at Massowah, " somebody " 
Bey, having been appointed in his place ; to which 
I answered that I supposed then that he was at Taka. 
I heard that Munzinger l had been conniving at the 
slave trade, and had been reported. In the course 
of conversation, Mr. Gibbs said that he should be 
happy to receive, either himself, or through the 
agent at Suez, any communication I might like to 
make to him whilst on my journey, which should 
be telegraphed to London free of expense to 
me, for which I thanked him. I think it is a 
chance I ought to avail myself of. It will be 
better than writing letters. I told him I wanted 
to send a telegram to you, and wished to know 
whether I could send one of ten words. He at 
first thought I could not, but afterwards said 
I could. He however suggested that I should 
not send it till I knew for a certainty when I 
should start, and said that M c Killop Bey would be 
here on Wednesday, and that he thought I ought 
to wait to see him. I shall send my telegram off 
to you nevertheless, and I told him so. The 
waiting here for McKillop Bey will not suit 

1 This official lost his life in the ill-fated Egyptian Expedition 
against Abyssinia in 1876. 


my book, as I should be paying hotel expenses, 
whilst at the same time the camel hire is running 
on. I must endeavour to get on board the steamer 
as soon as possible, as I want to have all the time 
I can at Akaba before the camels arrive. It was 
nearly ten o'clock before I left Mr. Gibbs to come 
and write to you. 

Mr. Milne is gone to the theatre. At dinner to- 
night he nearly drove me into leaving the table — 
I was almost going into hysterics from a remark 
he made. After Mr. Gibbs had congratulated me 
upon my having obtained a steamer, I said to 
Milne, Mr. Gibbs wants to telegraph home the 
progress of my discoveries ; to which he replied, 
" What startling reports he will give ! Discovered 
the Tables of the Law — Milne half way up the 
cone/' The idea was so perfectly absurd that I 
burst out laughing. At the same time, though I 
could not check the laughter, I was so strongly 
impressed with the serious and momentous nature 
of information such as I hope to send home, that 
the two together almost overpowered me. Milne, 
of course, only looked at the amusing side of the 
question, and continued laughing and joking; 
whilst I, though I could not refrain from laughing, 
yet the serious view still predominated, till at last 


I had to hold my head between my two hands, and 
cover my face — begging, nay, entreating him, to 
leave off, or I should really have to leave the room. 
At length he was quiet, and I recovered my equa- 
nimity. But it was a very close run. My laugh- 
ing was with difficulty prevented from turning into 
a good fit of crying I When one reflects on the 
subject, it becomes a very serious one indeed. I 
wish it were all over ! 

Mr. Milne has come in, not having been to the 
theatre as he intended, but remained below watch- 
ing the preparations for a grand supper, given by 
a Russian princess, who is staying in the house, 
on this their New Years day, or rather, I be- 
lieve, it is to-morrow, their 1st of January, and 
the supper is for the purpose of- beginning the 
New Year. It is in a private dining-room, on 
the opposite side of the house, so that I saw 
nothing of it, as I came from Mr. Gibbs. I fancy 
she is a Madame de Bekestow (toff) — no "prin- 
cess," unless incognito. 

January 1 3. — This morning I went to call on 
Nubar Pasha. I was kept waiting upwards of two 
hours. It was apparently his reception day, and 
some twenty persons were there with me, among 
them Mr. Beyerl6, and a Greek priest of rank, a 


bishop, I believe. Mr. Beyerld and several others 
went into an inner room where I fancied His Excel- 
lency was ; but it appeared that I was wrong, as after 
a time he came into the room as if from upstairs, 
walked quickly across it, we all rising and salaam- 
ing — I bowing, of course — and went straight up to 
the priest, whose hand he kissed, and then took 
him into a side room. After a few minutes the 
priest and a gentleman -with him came out and 
went away. Shortly after Nubar Pasha came out 
of the room and crossed over to me. He seemed 
not to be best pleased, for he cut me very short by 
saying that he had telegraphed to M^Killop Bey, 
and as soon as he heard from him he would let me 
know. I explained to him that I was starting 
for Suez, and so I left, he wishing me bon voyage. 
While I was waiting, coffee was brought in 
on a tray ; the coffee was in Jinjals and the 
filigree stands were placed behind them. I, in 
reaching across for mine to put my cup in it, 
knocked over the other cups and upset the coffee, 
some of which — a very little — fell on the cushion 
of the divan I was sitting on. The servant brought 
a cloth to wipe it up, and on my expressing regret 
he said, " ffa ne fait rien : fa porte le bonheur ! " 
Inshailah ! I said. 


From Nubar Pasha's I went to Mr. Rogers, who 
gave me letters to the Sheikh, and to the Governor 
of Akaba. I got his dragoman (chief clerk) to 
translate the firman, which ran as follows : — 

" To the SkeOk of tie Arab Tribe* at Akaba. 

" Dr. Beke, an illustrious Englishman, being 
about to proceed to Tor for some historical dis- 
coveries, you are, on his arrival in your district, 
to receive him with due reverence and respect, and 
to give orders to whom it may concern to receive 
him well, and assist him in all his requirements for 
facilitating his journey, as long as he may be in 
need of the same. Cairo 23, Zilkade 1 290 (Jan. 1 1 , 
1874). The seal of Ahmed Kheiry Pasha, Moohr- 
d&r (seal bearer) of His Highness the Kkddive." 

This is strong Enough, I trust. Abu Nabut when 
it was read to him seemed very much pleased ; but 
he wanted to see a letter to the Governor of Akaba 
likewise, and was not a little gratified when he saw 
that of Mr. Rogers. You will see the firman speaks 
of " Tor," which is in fact the traditional Mount 
Sinai; but Mr. Rogers says this does not at all 
signify. It is sufficient for the Sheikh to know he 
has the Khedive's orders to assist me in my " dis- 
coveries." I went upstairs to take leave of Mrs. 
Rogers, and then gave orders to Abu Nabut to be 


ready to start to-morrow for Suez. The cook and 
servant went off with the camels. 

When I went home I found a letter from 
M^Killop Bey, telling me of Fedrigo Pasha having 
called and shown him my letter ; but he had already 
written to Nubar Pasha about the steamer. He 
says she has a small cabin, with the means of cook- 
ing on board, &c. He has written to-day to ask 
about a pilot, and to suggest the painting of her 
bottom before starting. (Afterwards found to have 
been very necessary, only the paint-brush slipped 
through and made a hole in her bottom.) I fear 
this would cause delay, so I have written off to him 
sharp, begging him to expedite the business, and 
telling him I am off to Suez to-morrow. He finished 
his letter by saying, "I must tell you that the 
'Erin* is very small." And Mr. Fleming, from 
whom I have since heard, says she is not very com- 
fortable, so that I must make up my mind to rough 
it. But I hear from a Mr. Thompson that she is a 
good sea-boat, and her commander, a Maltese, a good 
sailor, having brought her from Malta to Port Said 
in very bad weather. Inshallah 1 it will be all right. 
In addition to Mr. Fleming's letter I have one from 
Mr. Kay, saying he had seen Captain Morice, 
MlKillop s deputy, the latter being ill, and that he 


had telegraphed to me. He will be here to-morrow, 
and hopes to see me, or rather not to see me, as 
this will show I am getting forward- He is very 
kind, in fact, everybody is kind ; and God is kind- 
est of all, in having favoured me thus far. 

This morning before going in to luncheon I saw 
Mr. Gibbs, with whom I arranged to send any in- 
formation I might have of importance to Mr. Tuck, 
at Suez, for him to telegraph it to Mr. Gibbs, 
who would then forward it to London, New York, 
or elsewhere, free of expense to me. I hear that 
Munzinger was here a few weeks ago and has got 
reinstated. I suppose his " explanations " were 
deemed sufficient, and all the blame thrown on his 
secretary. It is always the poor secretaries who 
are wrong! but if I recollect rightly, he himself 
said in one of the public journals that the slave 
trade was being carried on, and he was obliged to 
shut his eyes to it. Perhaps it was this unusually 
candid confession that offended the Egyptian 
Government. However, he is now in favour again, 
and the ' Erin ' is going to Massowah to be under 
his orders. I have just heard from Colonel Stokes 
that the Khedive has issued orders that the officers 
in his service are to appear in uniform ; this is in 
imitation of Germany. 


Now to business. I have been thinking about 
my " Notes from Egypt," sent you by last post, for 
the " Athenaeum." If the editor inserts them it will 
bring me in only a guinea or so ; and he may cut 
out all that most concerns me, just as he has done 
in my review of New's Book. Now, although I 
shall not be paid for it, I think it will be better to 
send it to the " Times " : that paper is read every- 
where, and by everybody that you know in Eng- 
land and that I know in Egypt, where numerous 
persons have spoken to me or to Milne about your 
letter. If the " Times " does not insert it, you can 
still send it to the " Athenaeum." So I telegraph to 
you to stop it. And now I want you to take the 
trouble to copy it carefully out, making such im- 
provements as you may think desirable. Just now 
is a good time for the appearance of such a letter : 
everybody being in town ; and I am sure this will 
be of more value to the public and to me than one 
guinea from the " Athenaeum," payable April ist 
— Tom Fool's day. 

I know now what was the matter with Nubar 
Pasha this morning. It is the New Year's day of 
the Armenians as of all the Eastern Churches, and 
when all the world came to congratulate him, I 
came to bother him with business. It was a blun- 


der on my part, which is worse sometimes than a 
crime. I cannot work any more, but must go to 
bed. It is half-past eleven, and I am quite tired out 

Notes on Egypt. 1 

" Cairo, January 1 1, 1874* : — Since my arrival 
in Cairo on the 23d ultimo my time and attention 
have been mainly concentrated on the arrangements 
for my contemplated visit to the volcanic region 
lying to the east of the head of the Gulf of Akaba, 
where, in the 'three low peaks' seen by Dean 
Stanley, and described by him in page 84 of his 
' Sinai and Palestine/ as being ' visible beyond the 
gap in the hills on the east/ when he was ' going 
northwards along the wide and desert valley of the 
Arabah/ I calculate on finding the true Mount 
Sinai — the said 'gap* being the entrance to the 
Wady Itheniy described by Burckhardt as f leading 
eastward towards Nedjed/ and identified by my- 
self with the * JEtham in the edge of the wilder- 
ness ' of Exodus xiii. 20, its scriptural name being, 
as will be perceived, retained to this day. 

" Notwithstanding my occupations, I have never- 
theless found time to jot down a few notes on 
Egypt. A few days ago I paid a visit to the 

1 Much of the information contained in the following " Notes" is 
recorded in Dr. Beke's journal ; but I have thought it well to repeat 
it here, in a more connected form. 

* See " Athenseum," January 24, 1874, and " Hastings Observer," 
February 7, 1874, &c. 


Museum of Egyptian Antiquities at Boulak, under 
the able direction of Mariette Bey, of whose labours 
and researches during more than twenty years it is 
the fruit, and with whom I had the gratification of 
holding a long and most interesting conversation, 
the main subject of our discourse being the Hyksos, 
or Shepherd Kings of the fifteenth, sixteenth, and 
seventeenth dynasties of Manetho, of whom he has 
brought to light so many important relics, now pre- 
served in the Museum. Respecting these people — 
whose descendants of a totally distinct type from 
that of the ancient Egyptians still exist in the 
vicinity of Lake Menzaleh — Mariette Bey says in 
his valuable 'Aperju de THistoire d'Egypt,' 
page 41, 'Strong presumptions tend to make 
us believe that the patriarch Joseph came into 
Egypt under the Shepherds, and that the scene 
of the touching history related in Genesis was 
the court of one of these foreign kings. Joseph 
therefore was not the minister of a Pharaoh of 
natural extraction. It was a Shepherd King, that 
is to say, a Shemite like himself, that Joseph 
served, and the elevation of the Hebrew minister is 
the more easily explained pn the assumption that he 
was patronised by a sovereign of the same race as 

" The conclusion thus arrived at by the accom- 
plished Egyptologist from the consideration of the 
sculptured remains of the Hyksos is so confirmatory 


of my hypothesis that the Mitzrites, under whom 
the Israelites were in bondage, were not Egyptians, 
that I could not refrain from dwelling on it in my 
conversation with Marietta Bey, and I pointed out to 
him that the fish which the statues of his Hyksos 
or Shepherds — my Mitzrites — are seen bearing, and 
perhaps offering to their deity, have apparently 
some connection with Dagon, the fish-god of the 
Philistines, 1 especially as the Philistines are stated * 
to be a branch of the Mitzrites. This idea would 
seem not to have occurred to him before, and he 
said he would at once make une petite etude la 
desstis. In connection with this subject I may 
remark further that the latest ' Egyptian ' autho- 
rities place the Barneses of Exodus and the land of 
Goshen, at or near Ismailia on the Suez Canal, alto- 
gether to the east of the 3 2d meridian ; so that, on 
an impartial consideration of the entire subject, it 
will be seen that the difference is now very small 
between the results of recent investigations and my 
views of forty years' standing. I trust that ere 
long the difference will become still smaller. From 
Monsieur Mariette I learned that the French Go- 
vernment are seriously contemplating the flooding 
of the Sahara behind Algiers, by letting in the 
waters of the Mediterranean from the Lesser Syrtis. 
I do not know whether their acquisition of the 
Island of Tunis, of which I have also heard, has any- 

1 1 Sam. v. 4. " Gen. x. 13, 14. 


thing to do with this project. Several years ago 
there was a talk of a scheme of M. de Lesseps to lay 
the Libyan Desert under water from the Red Sea ; 
but as I showed in the f Athenaeum ' of August 14, 
1 869, this would be impracticable ; whereas, on the 
assumption that the Desert is below the level of 
the Mediterranean, I pointed out that its inundation 
from the Greater Syrtis or Gulf of Sidra might be 
a work of comparatively little difficulty. 1 How 
immense its importance would be I hope to show 
on a future occasion. 

" On my return from Boulak, I received a very 
pleasing visit from Dr. Schweinfurth on his way 
through Cairo to the Oasis Khargeh, or Great 
Oasis, which he purposes exploring thoroughly. 
From him I learned several matters of interest 
which I will now communicate. The well-known 
Italian traveller, Signor Miani, died recently at 
Khartum. He had penetrated as far to the south- 
west as Schweinfurth himself, but not being so 
young or so robust as the latter, he sank under the 
fatigues of a journey which, from Dr. Schwein- 
furth's description of it, now probably before the 
public, could be borne by few. On the other hand 
the German traveller, Dr. Nachtigall, has suc- 
ceeded in traversing the hitherto-untrodden country 
of Wadai, where unhappily my young friend Vogel 
lost his life, and in reaching Khartum in safety, by 

1 « The Idol in Horeb," p. 91. 


the way of Darfftr and Kordofan. As regards 
himself the Doctor assured me that the report of 
his having received material aid from the Khedive 
is without foundation, for that he obtained only 
the moral support of the Egyptian Government. 
So, too, the assistance rendered by the Viceroy to 
Dr. Rohlfs' expedition into the Libyan Desert has 
been greatly exaggerated, his subsidy to it being 
limited to the sum of £4000 sterling. 

"When Mr. Milne and I came to Cairo from 
Alexandria on the 23d ultimo, nothing was more 
striking to me, who have visited Egypt several times 
since 1840 (when I went on my first journey into 
Abyssinia, but have not been here since 1866, when 
I passed through in company with my wife on our 
way to and from the latter country), than the many 
great changes for the better that have taken place 
throughout Egypt. When once Lake Mareotis 1 and 

1 In the " Times " of February 1, 1878, a correspondent says : — 
" The second public work which is proposed is the draining and 
bringing under cultivation Lake Mareotis. ... At present it is a vast 
marsh, 90 miles in circumference, and its basin is 8ft below the 
level of the sea, which is so close that at Aboukir a strong sea wall 
is necessary to prevent inundation. At the beginning of the century 
it was almost dried up. Portions of it were even cultivated, and 
many villages had risen up in its bed. But the English, under 
General Hutchinson, in their siege of Alexandria in 1801, deemed 
it a step justified by war to let in the sea at Aboukir in order to 
shut off the besieged French Army from all communication with 
Cairo. The strategical move was successful, but a vast tract of 
country, 200,000 acres in extent, and 40 villages were submerged. 
The reclamation of this marsh has often been proposed. Foreign 
enterprise has offered to do it, provided that the exclusive enjoyment 



the dreary waste on the western side of the Rosetta 
branch of the Nile are passed, the country, far and 
wide, exhibits unequivocal signs of improved and 
extended cultivation. I am told that whereas in 
1850 there were only two millions and a half of 
acres under culture, there are now at least five 
millions. 1 The cotton harvest is just at an end, 

of the reclaimed land is granted for a certain term of years. Such 
a proposal has recently been renewed by a Dutch company, whose 
nationality guarantees a knowledge of the science of irrigation. 
Hitherto their proposal has not been accepted, and it is said that the 
point of difference lies in a natural insistence on the part of the 
Khedive that the reclaimed land should be subject to the ordinary 
fiscal regulations. The taxation of land in Egypt newly brought 
into cultivation begins three years after reclamation, and gradually 
rises to the level of other freehold lands in their payments. Perhaps 
this difficulty may be surmounted, or another company may be 
formed more ready to accept what seems a necessary condition of 
land tenure in any country. The mere reclamation would only be 
a matter of time and steam pumping. Then would come the more 
difficult task of preparing the soil for cultivation. It is at present 
so impregnated with salt as to be unfit for most crops. But the 
Mahmoudieh Canal, one of the largest offshoots from the Nile, is 
close by. From it an abundant supply of water could be obtained, 
and three years' washing by periodical inundation would clear the 
land from all the salt, and leave a fresh virgin soil behind fit for 
every kind of crop. Another beneficial result should not be for- 
gotten. Alexandria is at present the favourite haunt of fever, and 
ail the doctors concur in saying our neighbour the marsh is the 
cause. Its removal would obviously be an immense gain for the 
city in the matter of health as well as prosperity ." See also Mr. E. 
De Leon's " Khedive's Egypt," p. 269 ; and Mr. J. C. M'Coan's 
u Egypt As It Is," pp. 248-250. 

1 " The land already under cultivation in the Delta is not brought 
to the point of high production, and there are literally hundreds of 
thousands of acres not yet tilled or planted which would amply re- 
turn the first cost of reclamation. All that is wanted is more hands. 
Proposals have been made to the Government for the importation of 


and the peasants are busily employed in cleaning 

Chinese and Coolie labour ; "but the Khedive has never taken to 
the idea very warmly. He is tired of the irrepressible foreigner 
who has oppressed him at every turn, and is reported to have said 
that he certainly ' would not add to the list of his Consular dictators 
the name of a Chinese Consul- General.' To those who know how 
some of our diplomatic agents here have used their power this 
speech is not without reason." (See the " Times," March 15, 1878.) 
"Three schemes are now more or less discussed, and all are of 
vital interest to the prosperity of the country. . . . The first 
is the completion of the Barrage. . .' . Cotton requires water 
more than any other crop, and at a time when the Nile is 
lowest. It is now our most important product, and our expor.s 
have risen from four millions to thirteen. It is fortunate, there- 
fore, that the idea of the Barrage has revived with new life. The 
science of irrigation on a large scale has enormously advanced, and 
what seemed difficult in 1847 is now a work of comparative ease. 
The vast dams, or annicuts, in India on the Canvery, or the Goda- 
very, or the Kistnah rivers, are works of a similar kind and scale, 
and their complete success is abundantly proved by the large return 
they make on the capital expended. All experts are agreed that the 
Barrage would bring under cultivation some hundreds of thousands 
of acres of land now barren, and would greatly increase the produc- 
tiveness of much of the cultivated area by the supply of water at all 
seasons. It must also be- borne in mind that in Egypt every canal 
by its banks is a roadway as well as a water way, and thus doubly 
increases the communications of the country. As regards the cost, 
a small water cess such as is levied in Lombard y would speedily re- 
deem the capital expended. The estimate, as made by Mr. Fowler 
the Viceroy's consulting engineer, of the cost of the Barrage and the 
necessary canalisation, is under two millions sterling. But the diffi- 
cult question remains how to obtain this capital at a time when 
Egyptian credit is exhausted, and her revenues are mortgaged up to 
the hilt Two plans are proposed. The first is to induce foreign 
capital to take up the schemes by the offer to mortgage the water 
cess for a certain number of years and to insure its fair and punctual 
collection. There is little doubt that there is private enterprise 
and unemployed money in abundance in Europe ready for such a 
scheme, and its adoption would only be a question of terms. But, 
say philo-Egyptians, this is a public work which ought not to be 


and ploughing the land. 1 In one instance I saw 
what I do not remember to have remarked* before, 
a camel drawing the plough. Green crops of various 
kinds are growing luxuriantly, and it is pleasing to 
see the animals, black cattle, asses, sheep, and goats, 
grazing in the rich pasture without stint. Trees 
not only line the road on both sides, but have been 
planted so extensively that many parts of the 
country have the appearance of being well-wooded. 
Altogether the run across the Delta on a lovely, 
cool, but sunny day, was most delightful, and I am 
not in the least exaggerating when I say that I was 

made a source of profit such as any joint-stock company would 
demand. Moreover, the total absence of local capacity for associa- 
tion destroys one of the main arguments in favour of such 
works being done by private enterprise. The settlement of a 
gigantic foreign company in the heart of the country would not in 
any way teach the native Egyptians self-help and self-dependence. 
Why, then, should not the profit the strangers would demand be 
kept at home % The means are at hand for the State to do the 
work. At present half a million of revenue is annually set aside for 
the amortizement of the public debt. If this sinking fund were sus- 
pended only for four years, the Barrage and the canals could be con- 
structed ; the expenditure would be recouped in a very few years 
by a water cess, which would be a payment for value received, not 
a tax ; Egypt would be the gainer by a vast public work of great 
permanent value, and the creditors would be more secure in the 
increased productiveness of the country. It seems a golden but 
not impossible picture." See the " Times," February i ; " Egypt 
As It Is," pp. 182 and 200-206 ; and " The Khedive's Egypt," pp. 
202-204 and 236. 

1 The cotton crop of 1875-76 was 3,000,000 can tars, the largest 
ever known. That of 1876-77 was 2,500,000. See "The Idol in 
Horeb," p. 100, and also M'Coan's "Egypt As It Is," p. 192. 


often inclined to doubt whether I could really be 
in Egypt. The sight, here and there, of tall factory 
chimneys rising out of the midst of the villages, or 
from among the trees, tended to increase the illusion. 

" The fact is, that Egypt, though geographically 
forming a part of Africa, is rapidly assimilating 
herself to Europe, of which she desires to be re- 
garded as a member. 

"The condition of the lower classes generally, both 
in town and country, has likewise much improved. 
Ophthalmia, perhaps the greatest curse of Egypt, 
is far less frequent and less virulent. If the people 
are not better fed, they have at all events constant 
food. Those in the town seem to be better clad. 
In Cairo shoes are worn much more than for- 
merly, not merely the native slippers, but Euro- 
pean boots. I have just noticed a man in the usual 
native blue cotton frock, apparently the driver of a 
hack-carriage, actually having his boots blacked by 
a lad scarcely less meanly clad than himself. As 
regards the Fellahln, or peasants, they are better 
protected from the weather in their mud-huts, 
which are generally much better roofed than for- 
merly, and oftentimes better built. In some places 
one sees dwellings for the labourers approaching to a 
European type. On the other hand, several of the 
native villages of the last generation are deserted, 
and their mud-huts are rapidly falling into decay. 
Such must have been the fate of the " treasure 


cities" built by the Israelites for Pharaoh with 
bricks, which there is no reason to suppose to have 
been burnt bricks and straw ; and hence it is intel- 
ligible that no traces of them should now remain. 

" No doubt there is a dark side to the picture of 
Egyptian prosperity. The people, like the Israel- 
ites of old, work not for themselves, but for task- 
masters, who 'make their lives bitter with hard 
bondage ; all their service, wherein they render 
them service, is with rigour/ Still, on the whole, 
the balance is decidedly on the side of good. The 
greatest and most important change, as being likely 
to be the most lasting, is, however, in the climate, 
consequent on the bringing of the land under cul- 
ture, and on the planting of trees. 1 Egypt is fast 
losing its proverbial rainless character. At Alex- 
andria, as is well known, rain is now so frequent as 
to have become a soured of annoyance ; but, until 
quite recently, Cairo has prided itself on its almost 
total exemption from rain. 'At Cairo/ says the 
new edition of Murray's " Handbook," ' five or six 
showers would be the (yearly) average, and these 
not at all heavy/ But I am assured, on good 
authority, that during last year there were no less 
than twenty-one or twenty-two days of rain ; and 
only a week ago, since my arrival here, we had 
four-and-twenty hours of rain, as heavy and continu- 

1 See "The Khedive's Egypt," p. 61 ; and 
"Egypt As It Is," pp. 352-54. 


ous as any in London, — in fact, a regular English 
wet day. The consequence was, that the unpaved 
streets were ancle deep in mud, and all 'circula- 
tion * was suspended, except in carriages : there 
was even 'riposo' at the Opera for want of an 
audience. It may easily be imagined that the ignor- 
ant Arabs attribute this extraordinary change in 
the seasons to some supernatural cause, and, as it 
has taken place since the accession of Mohammed 
Ali, they conclude that he and his dynasty have 
possessed the means of bringing it about. And so 
they have in fact, though not in the way imagined 
by their superstitious subjects. Another curious 
instance may be given of how these people attribute 
results to wrong causes. It is matter of history 
that four-and-twenty centuries ago the Persian in- 
vader, Cambyses, injured and destroyed many of the 
monuments of ancient Egypt, and among them (as 
is generally considered) the Vocal Statue of Memnon, 
at Thebes. It is also matter of history that, during 
the present century, Professor Lepsius defaced seve- 
ral of the existing monuments by depriving them 
of their sculptured figures and inscriptions. The 
natives of the country, who know nothing of dates, 
and entertain the most vague notions respecting 
everything that occurred before their own time, 
having heard from their fathers of Lepsius's van- 
dalism, but nothing of that of Cambyses, not un- 
naturally confound the one with the other, and so 


Dr. Lepsius is asserted by them to have been the 
destroyer of the Vocal Memnon, as if he had not 
already sins enough of his own to answer for. 

" If the changes in the agricultural districts and 
in the climate of Egypt have been great, those in 
Alexandria l and about the capital of the country are 
not less so. The Khddive seems determined to make 

1 "The great improvement which calls for accomplishment [as 
instanced by Dr. Beke at page 149] is the removal of the reef that bars 
the entrance to the port of Alexandria. Its existence ought no longer 
to be tolerated. Shipping to the amount of 1,300,000 tons enters 
the port every year. The exports amount in value to 13 millions 
sterling. The imports come to 5 millions. The harbour works, 
which are near completion, when finished will have cost two millions 
and a half, and the conveniences then offered will put Alexandria 
next to Marseilles, Trieste, and Genoa in the rank of Mediterranean 
ports. Yet no ship can enter the port after nightfall, and all vessels 
of considerable draught cannot enter at all either by day or night in 
stormy weather. Alexandria Bay is 5 miles across, but as you 
near the harbour you find shoal water almost everywhere, across 
which for more than a mile stretches the new breakwater. The real 
deep-water channel, the only passage for large ships, is not 100 ft 
across, and has the additional drawback of being very circuitous. Its 
depth is only 27 ft., so that in rough weather vessels of deep draught 
dare not venture in for fear of touching the rock in the trough of the 
sea. Barely a month ago, during a forty -eight hours' gale, the Austrian 
Lloyd and English mail steamers and several merchantmen dare not 
venture out of harbour, while four large vessels tossed about outside 
in the offing for thirty-six hours, and the English turret-ship ' Rupert' 
actually put back to Port Said rather than venture in. A careful 
survey has been recently made by a skilful English engineer of the 
amount of rock it would be necessary to remove in order to widen 
and deepen the channel sufficiently to permit entry and exit at all 
times and in all weathers. The work required proves by no means 
insurmountable. It is said that a tithe of what has been spent on 
the harbour would make its entrance safe, and it seems penny wise 
and pound foolish not to take the matter in hand at once." See 
the "Times," Feb. 1, 1878. 


Cairo the Paris of the Levant. The western portion 
of the city is being almost entirely rebuilt, and 
extensively enlarged in the direction of the Nile, 
whilst new streets are being opened through the 
other quarters. But on this subject I need not 
dilate. [Is it not all written in Murray's ' Hand- 
book; ' ' The Khedives Egypt/ p. 47 ; and * Egypt 
As It Is,' p. 5 1 ?] It is only to be hoped that, in his 
zeal to modernize and Europeanize Cairo, the Viceroy 
will not deprive it of its Oriental character, which 
constitutes its great charm and attraction. 

" With reference to Sir Samuel Baker s Expedi- 
tion, it is reported here, to have cost half-a-million 
sterling, — I have since been informed, on good 
authority, that the sum the Viceroy is out of 
pocket somewhat exceeds ^400,000 — and according 
to all accounts the results are anything but com- 
mensurate with the immense outlay. However, 
after his first disappointment, the Khedive is said 
to be not dissatisfied — ' Ce riest que h premier pas 
qui co&te. 9 Colonel Gordon, who has entered His 
Highness's service to undertake the exploration, 
and, it must be added, the conquest and annexa- 
tion of those southern regions, will know how to 
take up and unite the broken threads ; and there 
can be little doubt that under his skilful manage- 
ment the policy of the Egyptian Government will 
eventually be successful. That policy is broadly 
and unequivocally stated by Mariette Bey, in the 


Introduction to hia € Aperju/ already referred to : 
' History,' says he, ' teaches us that Egypt is 
bounded on the north by the Mediterranean, and 
on the south by the Cataract of Assuan. But 
history, in fixing these limits, does not take into 
account the indications furnished both by geo- 
graphy and by ethnography. At the north-east of 
the African Continent, from the sea to the equator, 
there extends an immense tract of country formed 
v by the river, and fertilised by it alone. On the 
other hand, of the various races that people the 
banks of this river some are uncivilised, savage, 
and incapable of governing themselves ; whilst on 
this side of the tropic we meet with a nation, 
which, on the contrary, merits the admiration of 
mankind on account of its glory, its industry, and. 
all the elements of civilisation contained in it. 
History, then, ought rather to say that Egypt ex- 
tends wherever the Nile flows, and that consequently 
Egypt has the right to claim as her domain all the 
countries watered by this celebrated river as far 
as they extend towards the south. 9 x It would not 
be difficult to expose the fallacy of this reasoning. 
But all that needs now to be said is, that such 
being the avowed object of the Khedive, it is 
manifest that the task of the accomplished British 

1 It will be seen that Mr. J. C. M'Coan in his recent work, " Egypt 
As It Is," p. 3, note, has adopted word for word Dr. Beke's transla- 
tion of this important passage. 


engineer officer who has just entered His High- 
ness's service in the place of Sir Samuel Baker, is 
not only to explore the basin of the Upper Nile, 
but to enforce Egypt's claim to all the countries 
watered by that river ; and that if any man is capa- 
ble of carrying out the ambitious views of Ismail 
Pasha with moderation and success, it is * Chinese 
Gordon.' " 

Since the foregoing "Notes" were written by 
Dr. Beke in 1874 very few changes have occurred 
except in the financial condition 1 of this naturally 
highly-favoured country ; but in spite of all these 
difficulties with which Egypt has of late had, and 
has still, to contend, I venture to predict that there is 
still a glorious future in store for her. The natural 
resources of the country are so great, that with 
economy and a moderately good government, and 
the contemplated improvements referred to at pages 
273-275, 280, one may confidently look for a satis- 
factory result. The enormous advance which edu- 
cation has made in Egypt ; 2 the realisation of the 
plans for increasing the lands, and facilities for 
agricultural purposes ; Dr. Beke's and Mr. Fowler's 
Soudan railway 8 being extended to Suakin in the 

1 See the " Times, " 19th May 1877. 
2 " The Khedive's Egypt," p. 27 1. * Ibid. p. 353. 


Red Sea, (by which the overland route to India 
would be shortened by three days, and commerce 
with the interior largely developed) ; together with 
the noble efforts of Gordon Pasha in the East for 
the suppression of the slave trade 1 and the advance- 
ment of commerce ; and those of Captain Burton 
in the West, in developing the mineral resources of 
the country — must surely conduce to restore Egypt 
to the highest state of financial prosperity. If any- 
thing were wanting to suggest perfect confidence 
in the future of Egypt, it would be that Egypt 
should place itself under the sole protectorate of 
England, and abstain from further aggressions on 

Had the British Government only followed Dr. 
Beke's policy and advice, and retained possession 
of Abyssinia, or at least of Zulla, in 1868, the 
;£9,ooo,ooo which was spent on the Abyssinian 
Expedition would now have been found not to have 
been spent in vain. 

1 "Egypt Ab It Is," pp. 329-374. See "Geological Notes on 
Cairo," by Mr. John Milne, F.G.S. Published by Triibner & Co. 

( 285 ) 



Suez, January 14, 1874. — We left Cairo at nine 
o'clock this morning for Suez, and travelled with 
Colonel Morrieson. We had a carriage to ourselves 
all the way, which made it very pleasant for conver- 
sation ; and having lunched and changed carriages 
at Zagazig, we arrived at Suez at seven o'clock in the 
evening. The Colonel is come on to look about him a 
little, and intended to go along the Suez Canal, and 
stay a day or two at Ismailia ; but he saw enough 
en passant to satisfy him. It is a wretched place, 
and although the Land of Goshen is placed there 
by M. de Lesseps, Mr. Holland, and others, it seems 
pretty clear from geological evidence that the Israel- 
ites could never have lived there. There is no fertile 
soil down to the rock I 

On our arrival we came direct to the hotel ; but 


found it quite full. Having asked for three rooms, 
and being at first told there were none, we talked 
of going somewhere else, but heard there were no- 
thing but second-class hotels (which I believe to be 
the fact), and that these were also full, with second- 
class people of course. They say that the people 
are staying here ! What they can possibly find in 
Suez to " stay for," I cannot tell ; but so it appears 
to be. After a good deal of talk the hotel people 
said they could give us one double-bedded room, (out 
of which they had to clear off lots of ladies' things I) 
and they could make up a third bed in it, or make 
one up on the sofa in the saloon. Colonel Morrieson 
and I took the bedroom ; and Mr. Milne the sofa. 
We then had a wash (Milne in our room, for he had 
nowhere else), and then went down to dinner. 

The l Erin ' is here, and is gone into the har- 
bour. I hope it is not to have the bottom painted, 
as that will take some time to do. I am half 
inclined, if she is likely to be long, to go on with 
the camels which will be here to-morrow afternoon. 
Time is killing me ! 1 1.30. — I have sat up in my 
room writing to Sir W. C. Trevelyan, Mr. Scrope, 
and others. I enclose these letters for you to for- 
ward. My bed-fellow is gone to bed, and is asleep ! 
January 15. — I was up this morning soon after 



seven ; had a cup of coffee, and went to call on Mr. 
Levick at eight. He was very glad to see me, and 
we had a bit of a chat. I told him I wanted to see 
the proper authorities; so he sent me to Seid 
Bey — the something or other here. I did not see 
him, but I saw his deputy, who said it was all right, 
a telegram having been received last night. But I 
must go and see Mohammed Pasha, whose position 
here I don't exactly know, except that he is an ad- 
miral. He was not up, but I learned that he would, 
in the course of the morning, be going in his boat 
to the harbour from the quay in front of the hotel, 
and I could see him there. Abu Nabut, who ac- 
companied me, suggested that I should not make 
myself too cheap by running about after people not 
so big as myself; and I could hear the fellow talk- 
ing about me as one of the Omra (Emirs, or 
" Lords") of England. I have no objection to air 
my dignity ; but if I am to lose time by doing so, 
I had better put my dignity in my pocket. How- 
ever, I came to the hotel and had breakfast at nine 
o'clock, and afterwards, when Mohammed Pasha 
came down to his boat, I went out to him. He 
was very civil and polite, and said the steamer 
should be got ready at once, &c. All this looks 
very much like delay. I said that my camels with 


the goods would arrive this afternoon, and I wanted 
to put them on board. He replied that the steamer 
should be brought alongside the quay, and if not 
to-day, my goods could be left till to-morrow, when 
she will come for them. Among his attendants 
was an Englishman, (Captain) Forster Bey, the 
harbour master here, who showed me a very nice 
letter from M?Killop Bey, and said that if it de- 
pended upon him, I should have the boat in a few 
hours. But the everlasting Oriental procrastina- 
tion prevented him from saying how long it might 
be. However, I might depend on his doing all in 
his power to expedite matters. The ' Erin * is a 
nice little boat, with good engines, and about 
eighty, or perhaps, a hundred tons burden. She 
is quite sea-worthy, and will have a good captain ; 
— if not, he said, he would try and go with me him- 
self. This is all gammon, as she is not coming 
back to Suez ! 

My business being thus far completed, I went to 
Mr. Levick again, and saw Mrs. Levick, who in- 
quired very kindly after you, &c. ; after which I 
called on the Wests, but found that Mr. West had 
been called suddenly away to Ismailia on Consular 
business — an English ship, laden with coals, having 
been wrecked in Lake Timsah ! Only fancy this ! 


Then I went to see Mr. and Mrs. Tuck, and ar- 
ranged with the former about sending messages to 
Mr. Gibbs. I shall try to send home news from 
Akaba, ma Tor. 

On my way back to the hotel I saw Captain 
Kellock, the Peninsular and Oriental Company's 
agent here, who was most polite and attentive, 
placing himself quite at my service, and offering 
to assist me in every way in his power. Certainly 
the Peninsular and Oriental Company's people are 
the most polite and obliging I ever came across : it 
is quite worth while to make a voyage by one of 
their steamers, just to see how comfortable and 
pleasant a voyage may be made under all circum- 
stances, as you and I know from experience. If 
the weather is bad for landing, or anything of the 
kind, like it was when we arrived at Alexandria in 
the € Simla/ the captain is equal to the occasion, 
and makes everything as comfortable as possible 
under the circumstances ; if it is fine weather and 
very hot, they are equally ready to render every- 
thing agreeable and cool. Besides, they are not 
only the most liberal company concerning their 
passengers, but are ever ready to afford indepen- 
dent travellers every courtesy, and the benefit of 
the various means at their disposal : so that, in fact, 



they ought to be called the "Philanthropic and 

After luncheon I was thinking of going off on a 
donkey to the dock, but while I was thinking about 
it, I was told that Seid Bey had returned, so Milne 
and I went to him. He was busy writing a letter — 
or having it written for him — giving instructions 
about my boat. He told me that it would come 
up to the quay this afternoon, or, at the latest, to- 
morrow morning. During the conversation coffee 
was served. Seid Bey is the most gentlemanly man 
amongst them ; but unfortunately he speaks only 
Arabic, and I had a very bad interpreter, Abu 
Nabut having gone to look after the camels, which 
are to arrive here from Cairo this afternoon. By 
and by, Mohammed Pasha returned in his boat. 
He has given all necessary orders ; the steamer is 
being coaled, and will be here to-morrow morning 
early without fail. So I suppose all is right. If I can 
I shall start to-morrow ; but I fear I shall be dis- 
appointed. The weather is perfectly lovely. Suez 
is frightfully dull, having gone down considerably 
since the canal was opened. Last night, our bed- 
room being filled with the luggage of us all three, 
I stumbled over Colonel Morrieson's bag, and struck 
my knee against his portmanteau. It hurt me a 

THE "ERIN." 291 

good deal at first, but I don't think any great harm 
is done. My cough is gradually leaving me, as I 
expected it would with change of air. 

The camels are come and I must go down to see 
them. On going down I found the captain and 
engineer of the steamer, who had come to receive 
my orders. The steamer is coaled, and will be 
here the first thing in the morning. She will not 
be able to start, however, till Saturday morning, 
as the crew have to provide themselves with food, 
and the tide will not serve till the next morning, 
Saturday ; when, please God, we are to start, and 
in four days we are to be at Akaba. The Captain 
is a Maltese, as are also most of the crew ; the engi- 
neer is an Englishman. We shall fly the British 
flag. The pilot is an Arab, who knows the sea 
well, and we shall steam only during the day, 
anchoring at night : the Captain has good charts, 
so there is nothing to fear. The ' Erin ' is sixty-five 
tons, and a screw. Altogether everything promises 
most favourably. 

The camels have unloaded in the yard of the 
hotel, and will go on to-morrow. We shall, I trust, 
be at Akaba three or four days before them, in which 
time I hope to have done good business, so as to be 
able to report favourably before the departure of 


the Captain for Tor, to which place I shall send a 
letter for you, and also one for Mr. Gibbs. I have 
spoken with Captain Kellock, and also with Mr. 
Edwards, the P. and 0. Company's chief clerk, 
who are both most kind and obliging. Instead of 
dining in the hotel, I went and had a " Manchester 
tea " with our friends the Levicks, who are exceed- 
ingly kind, and will do everything to help me as 
regards letters. Mrs. Levick was particular in her 
inquiries, and spoke much of you. 

January 16, — 7 A.M. — A lovely morning. No 
signs of the ' Erin ' yet. It will not be high water 
till 9.30. I have been thinking over our journey, 
and about its commencing at Akaba ; but, in point 
of fact, it begins here at Suez. What a pity it is 
I did not know I should have the steamer before I 
made my arrangements, and signed the contract 
with Abu Nabut, as it would have saved me a good 
deal of useless expenses, and the funds of the expe- 
dition being crippled. You must, however, apply 
to the public for further assistance, and I must 
leave the matter in your hands. I shall want money 
when I return to Egypt. 

Colonel Morrieson has now got a separate bed- 
room, so Milne came into my room last night. It is 
very cold during the night : the seasons here have 






changed a good deal since the canal was opened, it 
being generally much cooler than formerly. Abu 
Nabut has just been to me for a written request to 
the chef du pont over the canal, to let my camels 
pass. So they are off, thank God. 

9 a.m. — The 'Erin' has arrived and is moored 
nearly opposite the hotel. She is a nice little boat, but 
small. The Captain's name is Emmanuele Chiassaro, 
or Sciassar (pronounced in English Shasskr), which 
is the Genoese form of the name, he being of 
Genoese parentage. He tells me that he cannot 
start before Saturday night, or Sunday morning, on 
account of the crew being without their pay. He 
has been to the Governor about it ; but it is Friday, 
the Mohammedan Sabbath, and no work is done. 
To-morrow he will telegraph to Cairo, and all will 
be right. I doubt it much I 

I went with Captain Sciassar to the Peninsular 
and Oriental Company's Office, and got a British 
flag. The crew consists of captain (Maltese), mate 
(Maltese), pilot (Arab), chief engineer (Maltese), 
second engineer (Maltese), four men (Maltese), and 
two stokers (Egyptian). The ' Erin ' goes eight to 
eight and a half knots per hour. She has orders to 
go with me wherever I please, so instead of stop- 
ping at Sherm, near Has Mohammed, to look at 


some volcanoes there, which are only interesting 
in a geological point of view, I have told the Cap- 
tain I will stop at Ayoun el Kassab, 1 on the other 
side of the entrance to the Gulf of Akaba, which 
place I have hitherto identified with, the " Encamp- 
ment of the Israelites by the Bed Sea." 

About eleven o'clock this morning, Captain 
Foster came to me to say there is a " hitch." The 
Captain and crew are in arrears of pay, and cannot 
(or will not) go to sea unless paid! Foster has 
been to Mohammed Pasha, and got snubbed ! It 
is a question between his department and that 
of MfKillop Bey and the Egyptian Government 
Unless strong measures are taken, I may be de- 
layed an indefinite period! This is pleasant. I 
went off with him to the Egyptian Telegraph 
Office, and telegraphed to Nubar Pasha; and 
Foster is gone to the English Telegraph Office, to 
telegraph direct to MfKillop at Alexandria. As 
things now are there is no knowing when I may 
start ; and the camels are gone on, so I am in a 
hole ! Where the expenses are to end I know not. 

Captain Sciassar has been with me to say that 
Mohammed Pasha has given him orders to leave 
with me directly, to cross over to the arsenal, and 

1 See Dr. Beke's " Mount Sinai a Volcano/' p. 36. 


take on board five tons more of coal, then to pro- 
ceed with me to Akaba, and after I have dismissed 
him, to go on to Massowah direct without coming 
round to Tor for coal. The Pasha is leaving this 
evening for Cairo. But now comes the hitch. The 
crew are willing to go without being paid up their 
wages, but they must have food for a month, during 
which they may be on their voyage to Massowah : 
they cannot go without. I have been thinking over 
the matter, and have agreed with Colonel Morrieson 
that it would be cheaper for me to advance them 
the money, even on the chance of getting it back 
than be delayed here. So I told the Captain I would 
give him the money if Captain Foster said it was all 
right. Whereupon he went to Captain Foster, and 
brought him to me. I told him I would advance 
the money on the skippers receipt, and this I 
would send to Nubar Pasha, requesting the amount 
to be paid to Messrs. Oppenheim for me, explain- 
ing that I did it for the credit of the Khddive as 
well as myself, and also to avoid difficulties ; for the 
crew being British subjects, the Egyptian Govern- 
ment have no direct control over them, and besides, 
could not in any court force them to fulfil their 
engagement, so long as the Egyptian Government 
does not fulfil its part. 


The Gordian knot was cut by the following 
telegram from MfKillop Bey, in reply to Captain 
Foster's : " Pay the * Erin's ' crew one month's 
wages." But how to get the money from the 
harbour-master's treasurer or cashier, to-day being 
Friday ? Foster is gone off for this : he is a 
capital fellow. Before leaving he told me of another 
hitch. The English engineer, hearing that the 
steamer is not coming back to Suez, refuses to go ! 
so the Captain and Foster Bey have gone to find an- 
other. But, perhaps when the Englishman sees the 
order for the pay, he may think better of it. A 
nice country this in which to be dependent on 
the Government ! 

January 1 7. — Yesterday I went and took a Man- 
chester tea with Mr. Andrews ; afterwards Colonel 
Morrieson and Milne came in. We passed a very 
pleasant evening talking about Sinai, &c. He has 
all the books on the traditional Mountain, and on 
the Holy Land. He sees a good deal in what I say ; 
but, like many others, cannot be quite convinced. 
Whilst there, I had a visit from two of the officials, 
MfKillop's cashier and another. They told me the 
money will be paid, and I am to be off to-day. 
The engineer is displaced ; the second supersedes 
him, and a new second engineer is to be shipped : 


so far so good. I write this in the morning, hav- 
ing just gone out to look about me. 

The schooner is getting up steam with all her 
might, and is to come alongside of the quay to 
ship my things ; but the Captain is not on 
board, and I believe nothing till I see it. I find I 
was wrong in describing the rig of the ' Erin.' She 
is a schooner, with the addition of what appears to 
be a large lateen sail on the foremast. The screw 
is auxiliary. Under steam she goes eight knots, 
but under sail she can make twelve knots : in fact, 
she is said to be a clipper. At sea we shall keep 
within the reefs ; that is, close along the shore ; so 
that we shall not be exposed to a heavy sea, and 
besides can always run in when the weather looks 
at all nasty. Trust to an Arab pilot for taking 
care of himself, to say nothing of his ship. 

8.30. — The British flag is flying at the masthead 
of the * Erin.' She will not come up to the quay, as 
there is not water enough ; so she remains where she 
was, and the things are being taken on board. I have 
seen Captain Sciassar, who has received some money, 
but not all. The English engineer, Clifton, did not 
properly belong to the vessel. The second, now first, 
is a Maltese, who has been four years with Sciassar. 
The ' Erin ' is now going over to the arsenal to 


take her coals on board, and then will come for me. 
I am going to breakfast, and then over to Mr. Tuck 
to telegraph to you. All this looks like business. 

On going out to call on Consul West, who, I hear 
has returned, I saw the Captain again, who reported 
himself ready to depart, only he was waiting for a 
telegram from Cairo to say whether he was to go to 
Massowah or return here. Just fancy these people I 
It is clear we shall anyhow be too late for to-day ; 
so to-morrow morning, Inshallah ! at seven o'clock 
we are to be off. This delay is killing me with 
anxiety, but what am I to do? I may mention 
here at once, as I am going to write on a different 
subject, that when I returned to the hotel at twelve 
o'clock, the steamer, which went off to the arsenal 
for the five tons of coal, had not returned. She 
looked very pretty as she steamed down the creek. 
Captain Foster called here in my absence to say 
that the ' Erin' is waiting the orders of Mohammed 
Pasha, and will not leave till she receives them. 
They are expected by telegraph, and will be 
directed to him at the harbour, whither he has 
now gone. What is to be the end of it all, I can- 
not form an idea. If I do not know soon, I shall 
telegraph to Nubar Pasha again, and shall continue 
doing so till I am really off. I have put the pos- 


tage stamp on my letter to you, and shall leave it 
with Mr. Levick to state the precise moment of my 
departure on the outside of the envelope ; so that 
when you get my letter you will know I am really 
off— unless ! But I have no heart to write about it 

The post from Cairo this evening will most pro- 
bably bring me your letter by the Brindisi mail, 
which arrived at Alexandria on Thursday evening. 
I much desired to have it, and yet did not venture 
to incur the delay and expense of stopping merely 
for this, as I have not reason to expect any intelli- 
gence from you affecting my journey, and my stop- 
ping here for more news would simply be delaying 
my return home to you in person just as long. As 
it is, duty and inclination go together, for I must 
wait Mr. Levick is very good, and will get your 
letter from the Egyptian post-office as soon as it 
arrives. I called on Mr. and Mrs. West, who were 
glad to see me, and invited me to dinner to-day if 
/ do not go ! 

3 p.m. — The 'Erin' is back with her coal, and 
there she sticks. The Captain is away, and I am 

; whilst I am writing in he comes with his 

bill of health in order. He only awaits the tele- 
gram, which ought to arrive now. I am still afraid, 
but I take it for granted, and have ordered him to 


light the fires at six o'clock to-morrow morning, so 
that we may be off at eight o'clock. I might have 
made it an hour earlier, but Mr. Levick tells me 
there is just the chance of your letter arriving too 
late from Cairo to be delivered before the morning, 
and I am certainly not going to throw away the 
chance for a mere hour. Captain Sciassar seems 
a straightforward fellow enough — at all events, for 
a Maltese ! — and has navigated the Red Sea for four 
years as pilot, master, and commander. 

I waited till six o'clock for Captain Sciassar, but 
he never came ; so after " blowing up" a little to 
Abu Nabut, I said I should go to the Consul. I 
was to dine with him at half-past six, but thought 
I would go a little beforehand to consult with Mr. 
West as to what had best be done. I had in the 
course of the afternoon looked in on Mr. Levick, 
who gave me little hope ; he would not take leave 
of me, saying I was sure to remain. 

When I arrived Mr. West was busy for a while, 
and then began entering into my case : but hardly 
had he done so, when a man he knew, connected 
with the Government, came with the telegram from 
Cairo, ordering Sciassar to land me at Akaba, and 
then return to Suez, instead of going to Massowah. 
However, I am to start at once ; there is nothing 


now to prevent me. I dined with the Wests ; Mr. 
and Mrs. Tuck being of the party. At about nine 
o'clock your letter of the fifth, via Marseilles, was 
brought me. There is nothing particular in it that 
requires special notice. I am about to start on an 
arduous undertaking, but yet I do so in perfect 
confidence and reliance on His blessing and protec- 

January 18. — It is just seven o'clock, and I 
really do believe we are going at last. I got up 
soon after six, and after packing up my things, I 
have been down to the schooner. I had seen the 
smoke from my window as soon as I was out of bed. 
No one was on deck, so I called out lustily, i Erin, 
ahoy ! ' which brought some one up. The Captain 
is on shore at the locanda, where he is staying. 
The steam will be up in a quarter of an hour. I 
take for granted that all is right, and so I came 
home to breakfast, to close my letter to you, to pay 
my bill, and be off". 

Post Office, 7.45. — I have just seen the Captain. 
All is ready. We are to start in a quarter of an 
hour, or as soon as the tide will permit, which 
may make it a little later, he says. But we are 
really off ; so I have sent for our things to be taken 
on board, and I now leave my letter with Mr. 


Levick for you. God Almighty bless us both, and 
prosper my undertaking. 

At Sea, January 1 8. — As the ' Erin ' returns to 
Suez, I shall send you not only the latest news, 
but also my diary as heretofore. My notes will 
require a great deal of extension before they are 
ready for publication, and you might help me 
considerably in this. At eight o'clock I went on 
board the 'Erin' for the first time. Colonel 
Morrieson, who had got up to see us off, came on 
board with us, shook me heartily by the hand, and 
wished me all success. But he had little time 
given him. The Captain came up to me immedi- 
ately and asked if we should start, to which I 
assented, and he took me so sharply at my word, 
that Colonel Morrieson had to scramble out of the 
ship as best he could. By five minutes past eight 
we were clear. It is a lovely morning, bright and 
clear, with very little wind ; what there is, is from 
the north-east. We begin our voyage with the new 
moon, and by the time this moon is out, I hope 
to have completed all the observations I require to 
make, and to be nearly back at Suez ; so that I 
shall literally be able to fulfil my contract with 
Mr. Milne, that he is to be back in England by the 
end of February. I shall unavoidably be a little 

AT SEA. 303 

later, but not much, I trust. Our journey to 
Harran, if I recollect rightly, occupied three months 
and a week. In that time; from December the 
8th, the day of my departure, I ought to be back 
with you. 

The 'Erin' is a very nice little vessel, and was 
originally a pleasure yacht. I was mistaken about 
her sails. She is regularly schooner-rigged, with 
the addition of an immense square sail on her 
foremast ; this is what I thought to be a lateen 
sail, from the way in which it was braced to the 
mast when in harbour. She is nominally of 
eighteen horse power, but works twenty, so says 
the Captain, and she consumes as much as one ton 
of coal a day : with twenty tons on board, there- 
fore, she has fuel for just a three weeks' cruise. 

Our voyage so far has been nothing remarkable. 
We passed the entrance to the Suez Canal ; but of 
course could not see anything of it, except that 
there, and at the entrance to the harbour, there 
are most extensive works. There were several 
vessels of the P. and 0. Company and others, lying 
there, and also three vessels of the Khedive. He 
might have given me one of these ; but our Captain 
says they are none of them fit for the voyage, their 
Captains being incompetent. After a while I had 


the case of instruments from the Koyal Geographical 
Society brought up and opened, and I took out 
the binocular glass and pocket compass for use. 
The glass is an excellent one. At 9. 20 we passed 
the * Zenobia' lightship, which Captain Sciassar says 
he placed there about a fortnight ago. The P. and 0. 
mail-ship from Aden had just passed us, and the 
' Zenobia ' had the Company's flag flying, which she 
took down before we came up. As we had our flag 
flying, she might have saluted it, only she did not 

Being a good deal excited with my morning's 
work, and having slept but little during the night, 
I went below and lay myself down on the couch. 
The cabin is small but not nearly so bad as Milne 
represented to me : it has a couch along each side, 
which serves as a bed : there is a port-hole on 
either side, and a sort of skylight in the middle, 
so that there is plenty of ventilation. I slept till 
eleven o'clock, when 1 went on deck again. Things 
were now getting a little ship-shape ; awnings were 
being rigged fore and aft : the jib was set, but there 
was no wind to fill it ; and by and by they shook 
out the great big square sail, though to very little 
effect, except towards evening, when the wind 
began to freshen. We have two boats, one of 
which is towed behind. 


Luncheon was served at twelve o'clock. Whilst 
we were having it, the Captain was observing the 
sun, and came and reported to me that it was 
twelve o'clock, to which I touched my hat ; I had 
hardly the conscience to tell him to " make it so ;" 
but I suppose I ought, as I am in fact in command 
of the ship, and Sciassar is only sailing master. 

Abu Nabut has been repeating to us the Legend 
of the Kordn respecting Mount Sinai. 1 I have a 
notion that the Jebel-en-Ntir story is taken from 
this source, but we shall see. At all events, it gives 
me a new idea. Somehow or other this Jebel-en- 
Nfir has in my mind an importance, which I know 
not how to account for. 

Our lunch was set out in regular dragoman form. 
We had boiled fowl and mutton together; then red 
currant jam, cheese, oranges, apples, and dates; 
winding up with a cup of coffee. In the afternoon 
the Captain came to me with a bad finger, he told 
me he had had the tips of two of his fingers cut off 
by an accident, and was in the hospital for some 
time, and came out well, after a fashion. The nail 
of one had grown long and round the stump, and 
had got pulled off, which had wretchedly inflamed 
the finger; altogether it was a very ugly affair. 

1 See Palmer's " Desert of the Exodus," Appendix C* 


He had had some camphor water given him to 
bathe it with, but mere bathing is of no use ; so I 
got out my " medicine chest" when the first things 
I laid my hand on were lint and oiled silk ; a piece 
of the former wetted with his camphor water, and 
covered over with a piece of the latter, served as 
a poultice, and a bandage over this put it all in 

The afternoon was passed in dolcefhr nlente on 
my part, chatting, looking about, and half dozing 
on a divan on deck made of our tents. Milne 
amused himself by sketching the hind part of the 
ship, and then took my portrait and that of Abu 
Nabut. Mine is really not so very, very bad ; you 
would know it to be me, if you were told so. 

Our old pilot tells me he was up the Gulf of Suez 
in 1871-72 with the ' Shearwater/ my good friend 
Captain Washington's old ship, and knows every 
part of it well. He wanted to anchor to-day at 
4. 1 5 p.m., but the skipper said that here he is pilot, 
and he knew we could reach the next anchorage. 
We therefore went on, the wind freshening and 
giving us a helping hand, so that by six o'clock, 
half an hour after sunset, we were safely anchored 
off Hamm&m Fir'6n — the Bath of Pharaoh. A 
native boat was already lying there at anchor ; she 


has come from Suez to buy wood and charcoal of 
the Beduina Where the latter get these articles 
it is not easy to say; but this shows how the 
country is rendered barren and desert by the 
destruction of its vegetation. 

As it was rather cold, we went below to have 
our dinner, the table being placed across from 
couch to couch, and we eating in a half-reclining 
posture, picnic fashion. When we came on deck 
again, the main awning (its sides) had been lowered 
so as to form a tent, and the wind having fallen, it 
was very jolly and comfortable ; then I had a chat 
with the Captain, the crew lying about in respect- 
ful silence. He is a very well-informed man ; and 
in speaking of Malta, he expressed himself decidedly 
opposed to the tradition which says that St Paul 
landed there. The real island was Maleda in the 
Adriatic ; but Melita or Malta was chosen because 
it is a bigger island. This is precisely what I say, 
in " Origines BiblicaB," respecting the origin of the 
erroneous Jewish traditions. 

At nine o'clock we had a cup of tea, Milne and I, 
the Captain having one with us " at my command," 
as he said, when I asked him to join us, and then 
we turned in. Abu Nabut has supplied us with 
plenty of thick covering for the desert, but here we 


had to turn off one-half of it : our mattresses we 
did not want at all, as the ship's couches were suffi- 
cient. Captain Sciassar tells me he has on board a 
full supply of bedding, &c, for the use of Munzinger 
Pasha : he is really a Pasha, he says. 

January 19. — Started at 5.30 a.m. I lay in 
bed till just nine o'clock, when I came on deck, 
where we breakfasted. A delightfully still sea, 
with a nice breeze, just sufficient to fill the jib 
and foresail. I have employed myself in writing 
up my log thus far, and Milne in "paint- 
ing" the man at the helm. The pilot, named 
Ramadhan, sits day and night in the bow of the 
ship by himself, looking constantly forward : when 
he sees reason to alter the ship's course, he rises 
up, and motions with his hand which way the 
helmsman is to go. His life cannot be a very lively 
one ; but he is so accustomed to it that conversa- 
tion seems rather an annoyance than otherwise. 
Captain Nares [now Sir G. S.], R.N., in 1871-72, 
when surveying the Gulf of Suez and the Egyptian 
coast, did not then go into the Gulf of Akaba, 
I believe. When I told Ramadhan that Captain 
Naress survey was in the " Red Sea Pilot" — 
the new edition of the " Sailing Directions" — he 
was rather more animated than usual, and asked 


whether he was named. He is paid seven francs 
a day for his work by the Government. 

Our cabin is forward, then comes a tank capable 
of holding eleven tons of water, with which Captain 
M?Killop used to supply vessels in the roads ; but 
which tank is now filled with coal : then comes the 
regular coal hold and the engines. The cook's 
galley is aft, and Abu Nabut is generally there ; 
but when wanted, he comes forward and discourses 
most learnedly on all the places we are passing, 
pointing out this, and that, and the other, as they 
are all laid down by the Ordnance Survey ; as Mr. 
Poulett Scrope sarcastically says, on the map of the 
Peninsula, which is more exactly drawn than the 
map of the county of Surrey. 

No observing the sun to-day. The Captain, like 
the rest, is an idler. The weather is lovely, the sea 
has scarcely a ripple upon it ; but there is a nice 
breeze, only unfortunately it is from the south, so 
that it is against us, and as the current is also 
contrary, we do not go on so fast as I could wish. 
To-night we anchor at Tor ; to-morrow at Aiyunah 
(Ayoun el Kassab), 1 on the east side of the Gulf 
of Akaba. Milne says he enjoys this " travelling 
in the desert ; " and he may well do so. He has 

1 See Burckhardt'a " Travels in Arabia," p. 430. 


nothing to do, sees something fresh and of import- 
ance every hour almost, enjoya himself to his heart's 
content, and has no expenses. But, my dearest Milly, 
you would really have liked it too. Except just at 
last, and then only for a moment as it were, we had 
a lovely passage from Venice to Alexandria ; and 
here it is as smooth as if one were on the Thames ; 
and this south wind blowing will be all the better 
for the Gulf of Akaba, for entering which Captain 
Sciassar says this is just the proper season. So all 
will go well, please God ! 

As Master Kamadhan now says he cannot fetch 
Tor before dark, and it would be dangerous to enter 
then, he has stopped at 4.30 p.m. for the night, 
at a place just opposite the Kas Gharib Light- 
house, which is on the west side of the Gulf. 
They say it is twenty miles north of Tor, but it 
must be more. (I do not write very steadily on 
board ship, but I hope you will be able to make it 
out.) The crew set to work fishing, but caught 
only two small fish, though plenty of large ones 
were visible. 

Mr. Milne went on shore with the Captain, our 
servant, Hashim, and one man to row. Milne and 
Hashim went up the land, whilst the Captain and 
his man collected shells on the shore. The former 


found the distance much greater than they ex- 
pected, and were not back till dark. We whistled 
for them to return, and then, as it was cold, I 
went below. They came on board at half-past six. 
Milne had a pocketful of specimens, which were 
to be examined in the morning. We dined below, 
and then came up into the " tent " to chat and 
have tea, and at nine o'clock we turned in. 

January 20. — Off at 5.30. We did not get up 
till eight o'clock, when we came on deck to break- 
fast. It was quite still and calm, the sky overcast, 
and the sea like a sheet of glass, or rather oil. 
After breakfast we prepared to examine our 
specimens, when we found to our surprise and 
vexation that the boy Gios6 (Guiseppe) had thrown 
them overboard! One specimen alone was pre- 
served, Milne having taken it below with him. It 
is a sandstone, beginning to be formed by drifts of 
sand apparently consolidated by calcareous matter, 
or perhaps simply by the rain, or the moisture of 
the atmosphere. It is in layers, each of which had 
evidently become hard before the next was laid 
upon it. I noticed them when I passed along here 
from Tor in 1843, when I saw the footmarks of 
wild ducks Jixed on the surface, which being after- 
wards covered with another sand-drift, would remain 
in perpetuity. Notwithstanding the loss of his 


specimens, Milne made a few notes, which will 
serve me to bring in the subject of the geological 
formation of the pseudo Mount Sinai. 1 Inshallah ! 
we will make a useful book yet. There is no chance 
of our being at Aiyunah to-night, and we shall 
be lucky if we get out of the Gulf of Suez. 

At 1 1 a.m. we anchored at Tor. Our flag was 
hoisted, which was answered from the Governor's 
house. The Governor came at once on board, 
accompanied by several persons. The usual in- 
quiries were made, and our bill of health shown. 
He is a quiet, civil, middle-aged man, who made the 
usual compliments, and placed himself and all about 
him at my service, &c. We told him we wanted 
nothing but to buy some meat for the crew, and 
some charcoal for ourselves ! For this purpose the 
Captain and Abu Nabut went on shore in the Gover- 
nor's boat, and Milne accompanied them. I remained 
on board and copied out his geological notes of last 
night, as they will be required to work into my book. 
We are here at the foot of the pseudo Mount Sinai. 

Tor 2 is situated at the edge of a broad and 
slightly undulating plain, running back to a granitic 
range of hills, the highest of which is Serbal. The 

1 See Appendix A. 

* See Dr. Fraas's description of Tor, and account of the coral for- 
mations in the northern parts of the Red Sea, in his " Aus dein 
Orient" (Stuttgart, 1867), p. 184. 


TOR. 313 

houses are built of coral, obtained from a mound 
on the north side of the town, which on the side 
facing the sea forms a small cliff. There are many 
shells with the coral, which appears to be in de- 
tached masses. If not left there by the sea, they 
must have been drifted into the mound-shape form 
they now make, the latter is the more probable. The 
mound or mounds are about twenty feet high — 
higher than the highest houses in the village. The 
people of Tor are Greek Christians, dependent on 
the convent on (the tourists') Mount Sinai. 

At noon the boat came back, and we instantly 
weighed anchor and were off. The orders to the 
engineer are given in "English," such as, "Torn 
astarn, ' ' &c. Our crew had purchased a pig and some 
dried fish for the voyage. Mr. Milne made a rapid 
sketch of the place, sufficient for a picture. After 
luncheon we docketed several shells he had brought 
from a mound some twenty feet above high-water 
level, which had evidently been washed up by the 

In the afternoon the wind freshened, and as we 
are approaching the most difficult part of the sea, 
there was a talk of stopping. The Captain and 
ourselves remonstrated, but the pilot said that it 
was more than his head was worth to go on, and 


if the Captain chose to do it, it must be on his own 
responsibility. This shut us up; and so at 3.40 
we cast anchor again in a sort of bay a little 
above Has Sybille. The Ashrafi Lighthouse on the 
Egyptian side is distinctly visible. What a blessing 
these lighthouses are along the coast ! 

Soon after we had anchored, a native came along- 
side in a small canoe, which he paddled, bringing 
for sale some large oysters, of the sort that the 
Americans say it requires three men to swallow 
one at a mouthful These are real whoppers I 
eight or ten inches long. 1 The Captain bought four 
for half a franc as food for the crew ; they make 
an excellent dish cooked with rice. He says that 
no frvtti di mare (shellfish) is poisonous : for 
sailors find everything to be " very good eating." 
We passed our time reading, writing, and drawing 
— the latter being my companions work, and he 
has already " painted " me three times ! It was a 
delightful mild evening, with little wind, and that 
from the south, which is my only consolation for 
being so long on the voyage, as I trust it will con- 

1 These big oysters, Mr. Milne tells me, are Tridacua gigantea 
(the largest bivalve), and have been seen one yard and a half long. 
In the Church of St. Sulpice, at Paris, the shells are used as fonts. 
There are some magnificent specimens in the garden of the hotel at 
South Kensington Museum. 


tinue in the Gulf of Akaba. At night we had the 
moon, not very large as yet, but she will get bigger 
every night. It was so mild that we had our 
dinner on deck by lamplight, and we sat reading 
till we went to bed. Milne is translating Dr. Loth's 
account of the Harras of Arabia, and I was reading 
Macaulay's Biographical Essays. 

January 21. — Left our anchorage at 6 A.M. The 
pilot would not start till it was light, and he is not 
to be blamed, for the shoals and reefs about here 
are tremendous : we had to stand well out, to 
keep clear of them. Before starting, the Captain 
bought nineteen more oysters for one franc of the 
same man, who came off to us at daybreak. Thus 
the crew will not starve. Captain Sciassar is an 
active, good-natured fellow, always doing some- 
thing, helping in cooking occasionally, &c; but 
unfortunately he keeps his ship in a filthy state. 
It is true the boy sweeps the deck, but as to put- 
ting water on it, there is no more than they put to 
their faces 1 It is rather a " piggish " life we are 
leading. The pilot is mostly squatted down at the 
bow of the ship ; but when the sail is set, he climbs 
up and stands on the yard looking earnestly for- 
ward, and giving his commands to the steersman, 
either with his hands, or by the words " hurra " — 


" outwards," " djowa " — " inwards." He needs 
no charts, no observations, scarcely any bearings, 
but looks into the sea ! 

The wind is now south-east Oh, if it would 
only continue so in the Gulf of Akaba ! This 
morning I have been acting quite like a deus ex 
machind. One of the sailors having lost the key of 
his watch, I recollected that I had an old one in my 
writing-desk, which was found exactly to fit ; so I 
gave it to him. By and by the Captain dropped 
his tobacco-box overboard. The ship was stopped, 
and the boat begun to be lowered ; but it was seen 
to be of no use, so we went on. The poor man was 
au disespoir. I found a remedy for this misfor- 
tune likewise. At Cairo, seeing all the world 
smoking cigarettes which they made for them- 
selves, I thought I would do the same. So I took 
lessons of Mr. Rogers, and also at the tobacconist's, 
and then ventured to buy a pouch of tobacco with 
some cigarette papers ; but I soon found " the 
game not worth the candle," and therefore pur- 
chased some ready-made cigarettes for the journey. 
The pouch, which I had laid aside, now came iu 
seasonably as a present to the Captain. I need 
not say that he was delighted. • 

We are now nearing Ras Mohammed, which lies 


very low. I had fancied it must be very high ! 
The Captain observed the sun to-day, and at twelve 
o'-clock reported it to me, and on my bowing, he 
opened the steam-whistle, and so struck eight 
bells I At 1.30 we passed something which the 
Captain says is the wreck of a vessel which sank 
there eight or ten years ago. 

The granite now ceases, and low sandy (?) cliffs 
begin. We are taking stock of our coal, and find 
that out of twenty tons we have consumed seven, 
leaving only thirteen tons for the rest of the voy- 
age. We have steamed thirty-eight hours in four 
days. In the afternoon we saw an Arab camp on 
the sandy coast, too far off to be very distinguish- 
able. It is very slow work going against the wind. 
When we came to rounding Ras Mohammed, we 
hoisted the foresails, which helped us a little. 

At 4.20 p.m. we passed very near under the cape, 
or bluff, nearly one hundred feet high, of calcareous 
sandstone (?), much undermined by the sea. There 
are two points, the westerly one being the longer 
and lower. The English surveyors have placed a 
stone on the summit of the easterly one to designate 
the true cape. We are now out of the Gulf of Suez ; 
but not in that of Akaba ; to do which we must first 
enter the Straits of Tir&n. After we had rounded 


the cape we found the wind not so favourable as 
we had anticipated : still the sails helped us a bit, 
and we ran on till 6.40, when we cast anchor in 
Sherm el Monjeh. 1 This is a small basin quite land- 
locked; and as we entered it, we were met by 
shoals of fishes, pursued, the sailors said, by a large 
fish which they called cerne: they were in such 
numbers and made such a noise that it sounded 
exactly like a heavy shower of rain : I jumped up 
in surprise to see what it could be, as there was no 
rain falling. 

After dinner I sat on deck chatting with the 
captain and crew, to whom I related the history of 
the navigation of the Gulf of Akaba by the fleets of 
King Solomon, and Hiram, King of Tyre, of whose 
people, the Phoenicians (the Maltese), are the de- 
scendants. Of this there is no doubt Their lan- 
guage, which is not Arabian, but Carthaginian, 
plainly shows this. I told them what a feather it 
would be in their cap to have performed this voy- 
age with me ! (I am writing on deck, and my paper 
blows about so, that my writing is scarcely legible.) 
They all seemed very delighted with what I told 

January 22. — Milne went on shore to collect 

1 See Biippell's description of Shurm, in his " Reise in Aby8sinien, ,, 
Bel. I., p. 142. 



specimens. (This delayed us a bit, and we did not 
start till 7.15 a.m.) They seem to be of sand, like 
Has Mohammed. There do not appear any signs of 
volcanoes, but Milne did not go inland. Beyond 
the sand is granite. The steam being already up, 
we started the instant he came on board. 

The Sherm in which we passed the night is a 
lovely little basin, protected from every wind, ex- 
cept towards the south-east. The hills on the east 
side of the harbour are formed of sand capped with 
two beds of yellowish limestone. The sand is yel- 
lowish red, and in places is formed of quartz grains 
as large as peas, being quite a grit. It contains 
one band of rounded and angular stones (flint, 
quartz, granite, &c), about eight inches wide. These 
sand beds dip 17 to the south. Masses of the 
rock having fallen from above, protect them from 
the action of wind and weather. The beds above 
are horizontal, soft, full of irregular cavities, and, 
in fact, rather a mass of shells and coral than a true 
limestone : just as the beds below are too soft to 
be a sandstone. The upper bed of limestone is of a 
darker grey colour than the lower one, which is 
yellowish. 1 

We now crossed the entrance of the Gulf of 

1 See Appendix A. 


Akaba, going to the north of Tir&n Island. I wanted 
the Captain to keep on the outside, as the sea is 
quite free from rocks, and he felt inclined to do so ; 
but the pilot humbugged him, pretending that 
Mugna was the place I wished to go to, instead of 

It is a fine morning, but the wind is getting up 
from the north. After breakfast we examined the 
specimens collected this morning by Milne, and he 
wrote his notes thereon, also referring to what 
Burckhardfc says about volcanoes, of which we find 
no traces. The coast to our left continued sandy, 
with granite rising immediately above it The 
wind was now dead ahead, and we shipped a good 
deal of water. As we proceeded, the sandy coast 
seemed to die out, and the granite came down to the 
sea. The idea that this barren, rocky country is 
the scene of the Wanderings of the Israelites is 
perfectly preposterous- At 1 1 a.m. we saw a few 
date-palms on the beach : but that is all the vege- 

As it was now time for something certain to be 
decided about our course, there was a Tcaldm (talk) 
with the pilot. He wanted to persuade me that 
Mugna, within the gulf, was where I wanted to go. 
I knew what I wanted better than he did, and 

T1RA N ISLAND. 3 2 1 

showed the place to the Captain on the chart and 
in the " Sailing Directions," and, as he is under my 
orders, he had no alternative but to submit. He 
fears it will take time, and that he shall run out of 
coal, &c. ; but that is not my affair. I want to go 
to the Encampment by the sea of the Israelites, as 
I have supposed Aiytinah to be, and to make a 
drawing of it. This will serve to illustrate my 
book, and, besides, will perhaps save me from illus- 
trating (and going to) Marah (Shorafk), and Elim 
(Moghayr Shayb), of which there are accurate de- 
scriptions by Burckhardt and Ruppell. 

We then shifted our course to the eastward, set 
sail, and crossed behind Tir&n. The wind was 
pretty strong, and Milne could not stand it, but 
went below and was very sick. I enjoyed it very 
much. By noon we were under the land on the 
east coast of the gulf, when it became quite still 
and delightful. The Captain says they have in the 
Museum at Malta a Carthagenian ship just like 
those that navigate the Gulf of Suez at the present 
day. In consequence of the stupid pilot's keeping 
within Tir&n instead of without, he now says it is 
doubtful whether we shall reach Aiytinah to-night, 
that is, by sunset ; for he will not navigate by night. 
As soon as we get into an open channel, Captain 


Sciassar says he will take the navigation into bis 
own hands, and only employ the pilot when he 
nears the shore. I only wish he had done so this 
morning : it" would have saved us at least ten miles, 
and we are only going some ./foe miles an hour! 
The delay does not, in truth, very much signify, as 
I must remain at Akaba till the night preceding the 
2 1 st day of the moon; on which day, Saturday, 
February 7th, in the morning, I hope to start on 
my return to Suez. All my arrangements will have 
been previously made, so that there may not be a 
moment's delay after I have observed the state of 
the tide and of the moon on the day corresponding 
to the Passage of the Israelites through the Red Sea. 
I could not leave the spot without that. It was a 
dodge of the pilot, Ramadhan, to do as he did. Had 
I not been on the alert, he would have run me into 
Mugna (Magna), and have said he understood that 
was what I meant. As it is, he has subjected us to 
the rough passage in the morning along the coast of 
the Peninsula, and across to Tir&n, besides making 
us take a course probably double of what, it would 
have been had we kept out at sea. 

The result is, that we do not reach Aiyunah to- 
night, but anchor on a desert island called Barak an, 
some twelve miles off. The Arabian coast, along 


which we skirted after crossing the straits, is low ; 
but ahead of us are . some immense mountains, 
marked on the chart as being 6000 and 7000 feet 
high ; like those of Abyssinia. 1 

It is a hot day with scarcely a breath of wind, 
and the sea so clear that we can see the coral reefs at 
the bottom ; ten fathoms down, they tell me. Rama- 
dahan is so plaguy careful that he takes us first 
one way and then another. Poor Abu Nabut does 
not like the sea any more than Milne; He has no 
idea where we are going, and is quite shut up. He 
says, very naturally, that he likes best to be "at 
sea " on the Nile. The Captain is in a stew about 
coal He says we may have enough to take us to 
Akaba; but how he is to get back he does not 
know, except by the help of the north wind. At 
Tor he hopes to find some coal, and he is looking 
out in the " Code " for the signal, " Want coal imme- 
diately," in case he should meet a steamer on his 
way. At Akaba he may, perhaps, be able to get 
some ; but I doubt it. At all events, he talks of 
remaining there two days, which will enable me to 
send you letters, and, if tlie news is good, a tele- 
gram. I pray God it may be so. 

1 See Burckhaidt's " Travels in Arabia " (London : Colburn, 1829), 
P- 34o. 


At 5.40 p.m. we anchored behind the island of 
Barakan ; a low, barren, sandy rock, of the same 
sort as Ras Mohammed. The evening was still, 
with a bright moon ; and a dew fell which caused 
the Captain to put the tent up : under it he and 
the crew held an animated conversation, in which I 
took no part, being sufficiently occupied with my 
thoughts. But I could not help noticing the 
strange mongrel language they spoke, half Punic 
and half Italian, and I figured to myself how the 
English language came to be formed by the two 
races Saxon and French speaking together. Some- 
times the Italian predominated, and then the Punic. 

January 23. — During the night the wind veered 
to the east, bringing what might have been a 
severe storm. Fortunately the wind was not 
strong ; but there was thunder and lightning, and 
at five o'clock in the morning there was a large 
trdmba marina — waterspout. I was up before 
seven, when the vessel was only then about to start, 
as the pilot could not see his way earlier. It was 
very overcast and threatened rain : in fact, it was 
raining on shore. The sky was dreadfully lower- 
ing ; indeed, I think I never saw heavier masses of 
black clouds, not even in Abyssinia ; and yet as the 
morning went on one could see them gradually 

AIN&NAH. 325 

taken up by the sun. Still, on shore it must have 
rained heavily, and soon after nine o'clock we had 
a sprinkle even on board, but very, very slight. 
Fancy this in the Red Sea I 

We were obliged to go slowly on account of the 
reefs. The pilot was up the mast looking out, and 
the Captain below giving the word to the steersman. 
The navigation here is rendered most dangerous in 
consequence of these reefs, of which the sea is full. 
At 8.45 the Captain burst out in an exclamation 
of admiration of the "devil" of a pilot, who had 
carried us clear through a passage between two of 
them, where there was scarcely room to pass ! We 
were, however, not yet clear ; but continued along 
over the reefs, which were distinctly visible, at a 
depth perhaps of three fathoms. At length, at 
9.15 a.m., we got into deep water, fifteen or 
twenty fathoms. 

Milne employed himself in making a sketch of the 
black mountains above the place we are steering to, 
namely, Aiyiinah, but it is not very good. The 
weather now cleared up, and we approached the 
shores, on which we saw, to our surprise, a number 
of houses ; Captain Sciassar counted twenty-four 
on the beach, and many more further up. We 
passed them on the left, and continued to the 


harbour, where we saw other houses, and what 
appeared to be a large heap of charcoal ; but not 
a human being was visible. 

At 10.15 a.m. we anchored about a furlong from 
the beach, in deep water. We had previously shown 
the Turkish flag, and as we were in strange ports, 
the Captain thought it better to hoist the same 
also at the fore, to show that we had some one in 
authwity on board : the British flag would do no 
good here. As soon as we had anchored, the Cap- 
tain went on shore with one man, whom the rower 
left, and then returned for me. I landed at 10.45, 
being carried from the boat to the shore, a few 
yards only, by the men. As they dropped me on 
dry land, one of them exclaimed, "Benedetto, tirra ! " 
and I repeated the words mentally. To me it is 
indeed a blessed spot, because this is the first of the 
(supposed) stations of the Israelites 1 visited by me," 
and you will see how admirably it answers, in its 
present condition, to the " Encampment of the 
Israelites," 3000 years and more ago. 

At the spot where we landed were some eight or 
ten " houses," or, as they now turned out to be, 
huts made of date-palm leaves and matting. These 
are now all deserted, but show signs of having 

1 Numb, xxxiii. 10. 


recently been occupied. In one of tbem was an 
Arab flour-mill, a water-jar from Upper Egypt, a 
couple of wooden cases, one bearing the mark 
"Burbidge, Burbidge, & Co., export druggists, 
Coleman Street, London ; " outside was a large 
heap of charcoal, with two sacks full and one 
empty sack, and in a bush lay some woman's tresses 
of plaited hair. It was manifest that we had here 
the remains of the pilgrim caravan which passed 
by here on the way to Mecca some three weeks 
ago ; and these things, including the huts, are left 
for them on their return. All over the plain, and 
up the valley, are numerous other huts, perhaps 
some hundred or more in all. 

Milne made a drawing of the place from the ship, 
and then came on shore after me, and went a short 
distance inland, taking Hashim with him. It was 
high water here at 11. 15 a.m., with very little rise 
and fall. And now occurred what proved these 
Maltese to be not one whit better than their Car- 
thagenian ancestors. If I recollect rightly, Hero- 
dotus relates that Hanno did something of the same 
kind when he circumnavigated Africa. Being short 
of coal, as I have related, the Captain took posses- 
sion of the two sacks of charcoal as budna pHsa. 
On one of them were some Arabic characters, which 


he read " Emmanuele Chiassaro," clearly showing 
they were intended /or him. This puts me in mind 
of the " reading " of the Hieroglyphics by the 
Egyptologists. There being a quantity of fire- 
wood in one of the huts, he took a boatload of 
this too ; altogether providing himself with enough 
fuel for one day's steam. The worst of it is, ex- 
ample is catching ; and so we saw Master Hashim 
filling the empty sack with charcoal from the heap, 
which he tied up with a bit of cord left by the 
pilgrims " mighty convenient/' and then carried it 
off on his back to the boat. 

Unfortunately there was no water to be had 
except at a considerable distance from the shore, 
and no natives to help us with it on board ; but we 
hope to find water to-morrow, and so the men took 
the water-jar on board with them, in order to have 
it handy they said ! Altogether it w r as a regular case 
of piracy. I wonder what the pilgrims will say when 
they come back from Mecca. To show that he had 
a conscience, Captain Sciassar took three five-franc 
pieces out of his pocket, and bid them in the heap 
of charcoal ; but I am afraid there was some jug- 
glery in it, and that if any one went to look there 
for the money he would never find it. 

I returned on board at 1 1.30, and as the Captain 


did not wish to stay, we whistled for Milne, who 
came on board by noon. He had not been much 
more than half a mile inland, but had seen the 
aqueduct or canal, made for bringing water to the 
beach. It is built of brick, about two feet wide 
and some eight inches deep, along the surface of 
the ground, like our Grand Canal at Mauritius. 
Milne has made three pretty drawings of the place, 
besides that of the mountains which .he made in 
the morning. 

In the €i Sailing Directions of the Red Sea," page 
1 36, AiNtfNAH is described thus — " This harbour, 
although its approach is formidable from the number 
of outlying reefs, may, with the assistance of a good 
pilot, be entered with facility and safety. Towards the 
interior, at the distance of a mile and a half from 
the beach, between two barren and rocky hills, is 
the valley of Ainiinah, celebrated among the Be- 
duins for the purity and abundance of its water. 
About two miles from the beach, a long line of cliffs 
rises from the plain, and forms the outer edge of an 
extensive tract of table-land. The appearance of 
the luxuriant though uncultivated tract contrasts 
strangely with the wild sterility of the neighbour- 
ing scenery. On both sides of the valley there are 
some ruins, which are said to be the remains of a 


Nazarene or Christian town, and from it, leading 
to the beach, may be seen an aqueduct by which 
water was formerly conveyed to a reservoir near 
the beach. There are still some remains of this 

You see the name is Ainiinah. Copying Burckhardt 
and Rttppell, I have written Aiyunah, Ayoun, and 
Aiune, which is wrong. I fancy Captain Richard 
Burton was. here too when he went the Hadj. 1 To 
me this is a most interesting and important place, and 
I should have liked to remain here much longer ; but 
I have done what I wanted, and now do not care to 
detain the vessel a single moment ; indeed, my only 
wish now is to arrive at Akaba. As soon as Mr. 
Milne was on board the anchor was weighed, and 
we were off by 12.15 P - M - At luncheon Hashim 
went to the ship's tank for some water, but found 
none : fortunately, however, Abu Nabut had some 
in a barrel, intended for the desert. If I had known 
what I now know, I would have insisted on stopping 
a couple of hours more at Ainiinah, to look about 
the place whilst the sailors fetched water; but it 
is too late to complain now. 2 

1 He does not appear to make any mention of Ainiinah, or Maghara 
Sho'eib, in bis " Mecca." He left them N.E. of his course. 

2 Captain Burton will probably give some interesting particulars 
of Ainunah in bis forthcoming work — see page 69. 


We now went westward along the coast, a fresh 
wind blowing W.S.W. — you see how it changes — 
which makes the sea a little rough, and difficult for 
me to write. We kept at a distance from the coast, 
and at 2.45 p.m. passed three small native craft 
close inshore. Soon after this we passed within a 
few fathoms of a rock just under water. Kamad- 
han luckily has sharp eyes! Had we struck it, 
going at the rate we did, we should assuredly have 
gone to the bottom. The navigation being very 
difficult, and it not being possible to find an anchor- 
age later on, we cast anchor at 3 p.m. in shallow 
water over a coral reef, and behind a shoal now 
above water. The position is in about 2 8° N. 
and 34. 50' E. — not at all a pleasant place to stop ; 
but they say it is quite safe. As we were to come 
such a very little way, why might we not just as 
well have remained two hours longer at Ainiinah. 
Confound that Ramadhan 1 The Captain aud crew 
are busy fishing, and I am writing ; but you see what 
a bad place it is for it, the wind almost blows my 
paper away. 

I find that we are only in 35 instead of 34 
50' K, so that we are ten miles short of what I 
imagined. We shall never get to Akaba at this 
rate ; and the camels are there waiting for me. It 


is dreadfully unfortunate : and yet I ought not to 
complain. All will be right, if I can only get a 
start. The wind got up so much that we were 
obliged to let go a second anchor ; that is to say, it 
was deemed prudent to do so. Milne is a regular 
Job's comforter. He compares our position to an- 
choring in the middle of the Atlantic. I asked him 
if he ever did so ? when he began relating some 
of his experiences, and of their having lost three 
persons by sickness out of nine hundred in an emi- 
grant vessel, and buried them without most of the 
other passengers knowiug it. And then he went on 
speculating on what would become of us if we parted 
from our anchor, saying (as is quite true) that the 
strength of a cable is dependent on that of every 
single link being sufficient to nullify the strength of 
all the rest. Confound the fellow ! he makes one 
feel quite nervous. 

The "tent" being set up for the night* the Captain 
and crew assembled round the lantern, and began 
telling stories. As I was in the circle, the Captain 
suggested that he should tell his story in Italian, to 
which Giosd, the boy, replied, that then he would 
not understand it. This was, of course, sufficient 
reason for me to beg that I might not be taken into 
account, and so the Captain and the cook spun a 


long yam, of the purport of which I can form no 
idea. But I noticed the constant repetition of 
familiar Italian expressions, such as " in somma," 
which I take to mean much the same as our " and 
so." Master Giosd is the pet of the ship's com- 
pany : he is a smart, active boy of eleven, whose 
first voyage this is. He knows only Maltese, and 
is very much afraid his father and brother, the one 
speaking English and the other Italian, will forget 
their Maltese, and then, he says, how will they be 
able to speak to him ? His brother Mariano is 
only twenty-one, and he is the engineer 1 

January 24. — During the night it blew great 
guns — "fulmine di v6nto," to use the Captain's ex- 
pression. After midnight it became calmer, and 
on my going upon deck to look about me, I found 
it a beautiful starlight night : the moon had already 
set. We started at 6.45 a.m. Although I was not 
exactly frightened by what was said about the ugli- 
ness of our position last night, I thought it quite as 
well to be prepared for anything that might happen, 
and therefore I did not undress, only taking off 
my coat and undoing my necktie. This morning 
there was no washing for want of water, so that we 
are getting more and more "piggish," and, I fear, 
shall continue so till we get to Akaba. In case of 


need, the engine can make some ten gallons of con- 
densed water per diem. The wind was now from 
the north, which not being altogether unfavourable, 
we hoisted sail, and went on pretty well. About 
breakfast time a little rain fell : there must be a 
good deal on the mountains .at times. 

We bore straight for the island of Tir&n ; and at 
1 1. 20 a.m. altered our course so as to enter the 
Gulf of Akaba. At 12.30 p.m. we rounded Ras 
Fartak and entered the gulf. The wind was now 
nearly ahead, but it was not very strong, nor was 
the sea very rough : still it was rough enough to 
cause us to ship a good deal of water, which wetted 
Abu Nabuts tents, bedding, &c, which are on 
deck. These had, consequently, to be shifted, and 
spars placed under them to keep them from the deck. 
The Captain is very obliging and handy, taking 
part in all the operations of the crew, to whom he 
is, as it were, a father. 

No one, I believe, has been in these waters since 
the time of the surveying-ship 'Palinurus/ in 
1830-34. The Captain tells me he has three letters 
which were given to him by the Admiral before 
leaving Suez, for delivery at Akaba. He does not 
know their purport Taking this fact and other 
matters into consideration, I have thought it better 


that we should not hoist British colours on our 
arrival. It would be merely a piece of national 
vanity, and could do me no good ; whereas it might 
possibly do me harm, especially in connection with 
the difference between England and Turkey in the 
south of Arabia. 1 So I suggested this to the Cap- 
tain, who quite approved of my determination. By 
keeping himself strictly to his character of an Egyp- 
tian officer, and his ship one of the Egyptian Navy, 
he pays no port dues, and is not subject to quaran- 
tine regulations. So it was at Tor, and so it will 
be at Akaba. My flag is therefore put aside, to be 
returned to Captain Kellock at Suez. 

When once we had got into the gulf we were in 
deep water, and a course of about N.N.E. being set, 
we continued along the Arabian coast, the pilot 
leaving his post, and the Captain going to sleep. 
And this is the terrific Gulf of Akaba one hears so 
much about ! But we must not cry before we are 
out of the wood : we have yet to see how we like it. 
We kept along close to the shore as it seemed ; but 
everything is on so gigantic a scale, and there being 
nothing by which we could calculate distances or 
heights, that Milne and I made an egregious 
mistake. After luncheon, while looking at the 

1 Should Egypt accept the sole Protectorate of England, or be- 
come independent, it will have to be decided to which country 
Akaba rightly belongs. 


mountains, Milne asked me what I thought their 
height was. He estimated them, he said, about 
300 or 400 feet. I said, without paying much atten- 
tion, that I thought they were at least 300 feet ; 
but such things were so deceptive that we had 
better ask the Captain. We did so ; and he made 
a rough observation and calculation, from which 
he deduced a height of 2700 feet — and this (he 
said) at the very least I Captain Sciassar told us we 
were distant three quarters of a mile from the shore ; 
but I had estimated it at a quarter of a mile, or even 
less ! It requires great practice to form just esti- 
mates in such matters, where everything is on so 
immense a scale, and there is nothing — no trees, no 
houses, no people — with which to compare what 
we see. The mountains appear to be composed of 
sandstone, and behind them is what seems to be 
granite. As we proceed (about 4 o'clock), the granite 
comes forward to the coast, but it is doubtful whether 
it is granite, or if so, it must be much disintegrated 
on the surface. At 5 p.m. we saw what is called a 
wind dog over the mountains ahead — a short rain- 
bow, which is a sure sign of wind. 

At 5.40 we came to M&gna (Mugna) in 2 8° 23' 
30" N. lat, where the pilot said we should get water. 
In lowering the anchor no stop was put on the 
cable, and so it ran out ! A nice piece of lubberly 


seamanship. This caused a great deal of confusion : 
the other anchor was cast, but before this was pro- 
perly secured the vessel was moved backwards and 
forwards as if to keep her near the spot where the 
other was lost. This place is a vast improvement 
on Aintinah, there being up the valley a perfect 
wood of date trees, and a number of huts along the 
shore. There appear to be a few natives, but not 
at all in proportion to the number of dwellings : six 
men soon made their appearance on the beach, with 
whom we endeavoured to communicate as well as 
the wind would allow us. " Hat moiyeh ! Hat 
moiyeh ! Hat moiyeh ! " was our cry ; we are with- 
out water, and dying of thirst. Then some attempts 
were made to tell them who and what we were ; and 
Abu Nabut " explained " that the Khedive's Hakim 
(doctor) was on board I On my remonstrating with 
him on this, he answered me, as Mikhail did when 
we were in the valley of the Jordan, that it was his 
affair, and not mine ; at which I laughed, and said 
that as I had already passed in Syria for the Hakim 
Bashi of the Sultan, it was but a little thing to be 
the Hakim of the Khedive ! 

Meantime the boat had been lowered to look for 
the anchor, which they appear to have found, and 
which is to be fished for to-morrow morning by 


Ram ad ban, who is a good diver, when the sun 
is up sufficiently high for him to see the bottom. 
The boat then went on shore and brought off a 
Beduin, a youngish, good-looking man, dressed iu 
a striped abba, who by " lamp light" looked very 
bright and picturesque in his Arab dress. After 
the usual salutations he squatted on the deck in 
front of me with Abu Nabut before him, and a long 
conversation ensued. He is not the Sheikh, but 
only one of a few of the tribe who remain here to 
attend to the fructification of the dates, which, like 
the aucubas, have male and female trees, and the 
blossoms have to be set, or they would not produce 
fruit. The rest of the tribe have gone inland. 

The name of this place, he tells me, is Magna, 
and also Madian (Midian) 1 1 You may well imagine 
how this took me by surprise. In the Map of the 
" Wanderings of the Israelites," in your little Bible, 8 
there is a " Madian " marked in about this position ; 
but when you drew my attention to it sometime 
back, I only fancied it to be one of the " traditional" 
identifications, having no idea that there was any 
such place actually so called. But here it is : there 

1 See Captain Burton's further discoveries in 1877, referred to at 
page 69 of this work. 

2 Printed at the University Press, Oxford, and published by 
Gardner & Son. London: 1847. 


is no mistake about it. How it came to get this 
name I do not know. The Beduin repeatedly said 
it is known by both names, but the pilot says he 
only knows it by that of Magna. I could not find 
out from the Beduin whence the name of " Madian" 
is derived : but I have set Abu Nabut to try and 
find this out from him, and hope to ascertain. 
Meanwhile I have a theory of my own. Maghara 
Sho'eib is in about this latitude, and only half a 
day's journey inland from hence. 1 This then, and 

1 In Burckhardt's "Arabia" (London, Colburn, 1829), a map is 
given showing the Hadj route east of the Gulf of Akaba. Like 
Rtippell and Burton, his course was from Suez to Tor, Has Moham- 
med, and thence to Moilah. In his map (ii. p. 392), the names run 
from N. to S. thus : — Akaba, Thaher el Homar ; Shorafa [Marah] ; 
Moghayr Shayb [Maghara Sho'eib, or Jethro's Cave] ; Ayoun el 
Eassab, and Ealat el Moeyleh — the latter place being described at 
p. 430 of his work. Dr. Beke says in his " Sinai a Volcano," p. 37 : 
— " The road which I consider the Israelites to have taken corre- 
sponds so entirely to the words of the Scripture narrative, that, when 
once the incubus of ' tradition ' shall be shaken off, I cannot bring 
myself to believe there will remain any doubt respecting it. This 
road is that, namely, taken at the present day by the pilgrims from 
Cairo to Mecca after passing Akaba, and described by the traveller 
Burckhardt, who, it is needless to explain, entertained not the 
slightest idea of its being that of the Children of Israel on their way 
from Mitzraim [to the ' Encampment by the Red Sea ' at Midian]. 
The coincidence, too, of the Hadj stations with those of the Israelites 
is most striking. Thaher el Homar and Shorafa, respectively with 
bad water and without water, may be taken to correspond to the 
three days' journey without water to Marah with bitter water, whilst 
the description of Moghayr Shayb, with ' many wells of sweet water, 
date plantations, and trees among the wells,' is almost identical with 
that of Elim, with its * twelve fountains of water, and threescore 
and ten palm trees.' " Numbers xxxiii. 9, 10 j Exod. xv. 22, 23, 27. 


not Aiutinah, must have been the " Encampment by 
the Red Sea of the Israelites" of Numbers xxxiii. 10; 
and in the names " Maghara Sho'eib" and " Madian" 
we have a distorted tradition of the presence of the 
Israelites here. Of course the tradition, if preserved, 
must necessarily have become distorted ; as other- 
wise it would have been contradictory to the re- 
ceived tradition respecting the position of Mount 
Sinai. I much prefer this spot, with its wood of 
date palms, for the encampment by the sea; but 
had I come here without going to Ainiinah, I might 
have been accused of twisting facts to suit my own 
views. As it is, I have visited both places, and 
therefore, cannot have any personal partiality for 
the one rather than the other : and this " Madian " 
is certainly preferable in every respect. I must not 
forget to mention that Ainiinah and Ain el Kassab 
are both correct names for the other place ; at least, 
so they tell me here. 

Water was soon brought us, and it is deliciously 
pure and sweet : the Arab was told to get us twenty 
skins for to-morrow morning ; also a sheep, if any 
are to be had. Besides dates, they appear to have 
limes here, as the Captain showed me a small 
unripe one. The man now asked for coffee and 
tobacco, of the latter of which article a little was 

&*>■• i. 



given him, and some coffee. I also gave him an 
orange in exchange for his lime. After talking a long 
time with us and then with the pilot, he was taken 
back on shore. They have no boats here, and no 
animals, the camels being all with the tribe inland. 

The 'Erin' is safely anchored behind a head- 
land forming the side of a sort of bay, with a long 
reef running out from it, which shelters us well 
from the north. There is, however, no anchorage 
for large vessels here — these would have to stand 
off whilst their boats came on shore for water. 

January 25. — The wind, which had seemed to 
fall in the evening, rose during the night, so as to 
blow a perfect tempest : the crew were up three 
times during the night, thinking that we were 
driven from our anchorage : they had warped us 
to the shore by way of greater security ; but when 
I came this morning to see the rope by which we 
are fastened, I was thankful that we had not to 
depend on that at all, as it would not have held us 
a moment. I passed a wretched night, and this 
morning am altogether unwell ; my head aches, so 
that I can hardly hold it up— a very unusual occur- 
rence for me ; and besides this, my ankle is some- 
what swollen and painful. I do not know whether 
I hurt it going on shore at Ainiiuah, or whether it 


At four hours from it is a descent, rendered difficult 
by the deep sand. It is called El Araie, or Halat 
Ammar. . . . From Halat Am mar the plain is no 
longer sandy, but covered with a white earth as 
far as Tebouk The vicinity of Dzat Hadj is 
covered with palm trees ; but the trees being male, 
they bear no fruit, and remain very low. The 
inhabitants sell the wood to the Hadj. 

" One day from Dzat Hadj is Tebouk, a castle, 
with a village of Felahein. . . . There is a copious 
source of water, and gardens of fig and pome- 
granate trees, where Badintshans (egg plant), 
onions, and other vegetables, are also cultivated. 
The Fellahs collect in the neighbouring desert the 
herb Beiteran (a species of milfoil). . . . The castle 
is also surrounded by shrubs with long spines called 
Mekdab, which the Fellahs sell to the Hadj as food 
for the camels, and likewise two other herbs called 
Nassi and Muassal. 

" Akhdhar, a castle with a Birket of rain-water, 
upon a small ascent. ... El Moadham, a very 
long day's march (p. 660). Dar el Hamra. 
Medayn Szaleh. ... El Olla . . . with a rivulet, 
and agreeable gardens of fruit-trees. Biar el 
Ghanam, with many wells of fresh water. Byr 
Zemerrod, a large well. Byr Dyedeyde. 


female to be seen. Abu Nabut had been making 
inquiries for me, and I learned through him that 
the place is called " Magna " by the Arabs, but that 
its old official name is " Madian," by which it is 
known to the Mftzri (Egyptians) and the pilgrims 
to Mecca. I walked a quarter of a mile and more 
in the direction of the watercourse, and up it. It 
is some fifty yards wide, and carries water into the 
sea during the rains. I came to some beautiful 
palm groves, the trees being countless, and they 
extend some considerable distance up the valley, 
which comes from the east, that is to say, from the 
neighbourhood of Maghara Sho'eib, if not actually 
from it. In front of the date-palm groves are plan- 
tations of barley on a small scale, which are enclosed 
in hedges formed by the leaves of the date-palm ; 
the entrance to which is closed by a curious door 
fastened by bolts and cords in a most mysterious 
manner. Within there are also growing lime, 
nebbuk, and fig-trees. Here I met Milne returning 
laden with stones, and two or three drawings he 
had made. 1 

Abu Nabut tells me that " Maghara " means a 

1 Those who are interested in the geological formations of Midian 
and the discoveries of gold recently made by Captain Burton there, 
I would refer to "Appendix A., M which specially treats of the quartz 
veins in the granite, &c. 


cave artificially made, not a natural cavern. I 
do not think this signifies much, as the artificial 
dwelling was originally a natural cave. I was told 
by one of the Arabs, " who had seen it with his 
eyes," that, at an hour's distance, there is a place 
marked with stones where tJie Prophet Moses 
prayed to God ! Of course this is so important that 
it must be seen. It is unfortunately too far off for 
me to think of walking there, and as there is no 
other means of getting to the place, I was compelled 
to content myself to accept Milne's offer to go for 
me. So it was decided that we should return on 
board to lunch ; and then that he should go again 
on shore with Hashim and the Beduin as a guide. 
Then we went off to the ship, taking with us some 
shells which we had picked up. 

We lunched, and at half-past twelve Milne was 
off to the "praying place of Moses," as it is called. 
He is very good, and does everything I ask him to 
do, especially as he sees that I am not too exigent. 
These traditions about Moses and Jethro are very 
curious. I do not wish to attach too much value to 
them ; but, at all events, they are worth quite as 
much as those within the peninsula. I may fairly 
set the one set of traditions to neutralise the other : 
and I should say that these have every appearance 


of being older than those, and certainly better fulfil 
the requirements of the Scripture History, and 
adapt themselves better to it, especially when taken 
in connection with the information recorded by 
travellers like Burckhardt, Kuppell, Palgrave, and 
others. Burckhardt, in giving the following de- 
scription of the stations on the Syrian Hadj route 
from Ma'an, 1 says it is : — " A long day's journey to 
the Castle of Akaba Esshamie, or the Syrian Akaba. 
. . . Here is a Birket of rain-water. The Hadj 
road, as far as Akaba, is a complete desert on both 
sides, yet not incapable (p. 659) of culture. The 
mountain chain continues at about ten hours to 
the west of the Hadj route. . . . From the foot of 
the castle walls the Hadj descends a deep chasm, 
and it takes half an hour to reach the plain below. 
. . . The mountain consists of a red grey sandstone. 
. . . The mountain sinks gradually, and is lost at a 
great distance in the plain, which is very sandy. 

" Medawara, one day's journey, a castle with a 
Birket of rain-water. 

" Dzat Hadj, a castle surrounded by a great num- 
ber of wells, which are easily found on digging two 
or three feet. It has likewise a Birket of rain- water. 

1 See Burckhardt, Appendix III., " The Hadj Route from Damascus 
to Mekka," p. 658. 


off, and wanted to be paid for the water in bread, 
rice, coffee, &c. But Abu Nabut said this might 
do very well for a skin or two, but not for thirty- 
five — the number we have had. So the Captain 
gave them five francs, and Abu Nabut gave them 
four francs, with which they were well satisfied. 

Milne came back to the beach at a quarter-past 
three, and brought with him a pretty and valuable 
drawing of the " Mosque of Moses," as the people 
call it, with the plan and full description. The 
remains are of white alabaster, a small piece of 
which I have kept for you. The spot where the 
ruins are is only a mile or so from the beach. 
Milne walked to it along the north side of a 
palm grove, gradually ascending over a sand- 
stone slope, in many places worn into hummocks. 
He tells me that, at about half a mile from the 


sea, he came to a small stream about a yard 
wide, running in a channel worn in the solid 
rock. At this point he met with a small water- 
fall, or slide-down surface of rock, in all fall- 
ing at least twelve feet, which looked very pretty 
among and with the palm trees overhanging it, 
and winding and losing itself among them. The 
surface has been quite cleared, so that one walks 
over the bare rock, which is composed of sand- 


stone and conglomerate. A couple of hundred 
yards past this the rock is covered with sand, 
and just as you come to the end of the palm 
groves, you see a mound half as high as the 
palms, with the white blocks lying in the sand. 
Here there is a good view into the interior up 
the valley, along which date-palms are seen grow- 
ing in patches ; there are also a few dom-palms, 
notably one overhanging the ruins. 

Mr. Milne describes the ruins of the Mosque 
of Moses as follows : — " The blocks marked * A ' 
are of alabaster, whilst those marked ' G ' are 
of granite, all much weathered. The alabaster 
blocks are about three feet long, and one foot 
six inches square. They all appeared to have 
been worked, but the edges are now rounded : 
one appeara to form a portion of a column, and 
there would seem to have been two squares, one 
within the other, the south end of the inner 
one being semicircular, and there may have 
been another enclosure yet further out ; but it 
is difficult to say. There are several large mounds 
near it, which may possibly contain other remains. 
The whole is being rapidly covered with sand, 
which is seen by its encroachments on the palm 
groves, which the natives try to prevent by erecting 

FOR T OF MIDI AN. 3 5 1 

fences. In one place the fence has been destroyed 
by the sand, and another erected further in." 

On the chart of the Eed Sea the ruins of the 
ancient Fort of Mfigna (or Midian), and the en- 
campment, with the running stream of water, are 
all placed much too far inland. The fort is not 
more than half a mile from the sea. Milne went 
as far as the running water; and, from what he 
says, there must be at the very least a thousand 
palm trees. The Beduin who was with us last 
night now came on board for some wine as 
" medicine " for his stomach, he said. Hashim 
had some for cooking, so he gave him a little. 
Then he came to me, calling out, " Hakim Bashi " 
several times. As I knew he had only come to 
beg, I pretended not to hear, but at last was 
obliged to turn round to him. His petition was, 
after all, a very reasonable one. It appeared that 
he had accompanied Mr. Milne to the Mosque of 
Moses, and now wanted four piastres as bakhshish, 
which I gave him, and he went away rejoicing. 

Off and on all day the pilot has been diving, 
or looking for the anchor. He sits in the bow of 
the boat, with his head down almost to the level 
of the water, into which he looks with all his 
might. They say they know where it is ; but I 


see do proof of it. In the afternoon I spoke 
seriously to the Captain about our going on. He 
says the weather is still too bad ; but if it would 
only become a little calmer, he would start, and 
leave the anchor to be fished up, or at least secured 
by the Beduius. Towards nightfall he made a 
great boast of starting during the night, at all risks, 
so as to anchor at Akaba to-morrow afternoon. 
But as there were no signs of getting up the 
steam I knew that this was all talk. After I had 
gone to bed I sent for him, and suggested that he 
should get up steam at all events, as, should it 
come on to blow so hard as to make the anchor 
part, he would be able to prevent the ship drifting 
on the lee-shore. But he said he was prepared for 
this by setting the two jibs, and so putting the 
vessel before the wind. With this I must needs 
be content. 

January 26. — At about 7 a.m. the Captain came 
down into my cabin before I was up, to tell me the 
night had been worse than the two preceding 
nights, and at one time he really thought the 
anchor had slipped. This morning, however, the 
weather has calmed, and he had made up his 
mind to start, and continue all night, so as to 
get to Akaba to-morrow morning. I shall believe 



him when we are really off But, in fact, when I 
came on deck to breakfast at eight o'clock I found 
the fires were really lighted, whicli looks as if he 
were in earnest. We are here in 2 8° 23' 30" N. 
latitude, and Akaba is in 29° 29', so that we have 
some sixty-six miles to run. The Captain and 
pilot are still looking for the anchor ! 

I was copying out some of Milne's geological 
notes, when, at 10.15 A - M *> I heard the steam- 
whistle as a signal for starting, and the ship be- 
gan moving. At 10.30 the boat was up, and we 
were off. It was a lovely morning, only the sea 
rather rough, and the wind ahead as usual : draw- 
ing as it does down the immense funnel from as 
far as the Bay of Tiberias, it is almost constantly 
from the north. We keep close along the Arabian 
coast, which screens us a little from the wind, 
and gives us a smoother sea than we should have 
farther off the shore. Still the waves make the 
little steamer (she is only sixty-four tons) pitch a 
good deal, and prevent the screw from working as 
it should. The Captain says we are not doing 
more than two miles an hour, but we have a cur- 
rent of one mile in our favour, and as we go on the 
weather improves, so that we begin to make very 

decent way, on the whole. She is too much down 



iu the stern, as was remarked at Suez ; and in con- 
sequence of which it was thought well to shift 
forward some of the things on board, so as to bring 
her head down. To me the sea seems as nothing 
compared to what I have been in on the coast of 
Kent in an open boat. Certainly, I have crossed 
the Channel over and over again in very much 
worse weather ; but then allowance must be made 
for the size of our little craft. 

At i p.m. we passed under a bluff of granite 
rising perpendicularly out of the water, which cor- 
responding to the dip of the land, is without sound- 
ings. It is called Jebel Suw£khed ; but in the 
' Sailing Directions' it is called Tayyibat Isem, 
which I fancy to be some misunderstanding as to 
its name being " good." The sea has had such an 
effect upon poor Milne that he could not get up to 
lunch; but he must needs eat a large lump of 
cheese, and then take an orange to keep himself 
from being sick ! 

As we went along under the side of the moun- 
tain we saw a man and a boy walking along a 
narrow shelf of sand forming a sort of beach at its 
foot. At the distance at which we were it seemed 
to us as if there was scarcely room for them to 
walk. What they were doing there, and how they 


got there, was a puzzle to us ; but the mystery 
was solved by our coming in front of a cleft in the 
mountain ma*s, at the foot of which was a little 
beach with date trees growing on it. I was sorry 
Milne was not in a state to make a sketch of it, 
but I supplied his place, and made a rough draw- 
ing of it, which will serve as the basis of a very 
pretty picture. It was now about 1.45 p.m. As 
we proceeded we witnessed signs of incipient vege- 
tation on the face of the disintegrated granite : a 
tuft of grass here and there, and then a single stunted 
tamarisk. By and by the sandstone took the place 
of the granite, and the trees increased gradually in 
number, so as to almost form a little wood. We 
kept along in the deep water close along the shore, 
the hills gradually decreasing in height, till at 3.20 
p.m. we stopped under a long sandy point called 
Bir-el-M&shiyah, in 28 51' north latitude, forty 
miles from the head of the Gulf of Akaba. About 
half a mile back from the beach there is an ex- 
posure of white coral and other shells. This is 
about twenty' feet above the level of the sea by 
aneroid. Excepting these banks, the rest of the 
country is a flat plain, gently sloping upwards for 
two or three miles towards a range of granite hills. 
We went in close to the land, and as the anchor 


would not hold in the sandy bottom, it was carried 
on shore and a hole dug for it. A warp was also 
carried on shore. Here we are to remain till even- 
ing, when, if the wind falls, we are to go on during 
the night, so as to get to Akaba in the morning. 
The wind is rising just now, aud I much fear we 
shall have to remain here all night. It is a good 
thing that we made the dStour by Aiminah, as 
we thereby escaped the bad weather in the Gulf, 
where it must have been infinitely worse than it 
was with us. 

I cannot but look upon our voyage as having 
been thus far most fortunate and most favourable. 
When the subject is calmly considered, the under- 
taking is a most perilous one. The pilot knows 
the sea, it is true ; but neither the Captain nor any 
of his crew have ever been up the Gulf before ; and 
as to the young engineer — he tells me it is the 
first sea voyage he has ever made, his experience 
having been only on shore and in the harbour of 
Alexandria ; however, he knows his business very 
well. Milne is up and well the moment we reach 
land, and is already gone on shore. I stay on board 
to write up my journal for yon, as the Captain 
says he shall not remain at Akaba, and I want you 
to have the latest news. This day fortnight I hope 


you will receive this letter. If the Captain waits a 
day at Akaba, I think I may be able to send you 
a telegram from JEtham (Wady Ithem). Before 
dinner-time Milne returned on board, bringing 
with him some sketches he had made, and a col- 
lection of rocks and pieces of coral as usual. The 
coast has risen here twenty feet at least. 

January 27 (Tuesday). — Please God this is our 
last day at sea. Before I went to bed last night 
the Captain talked of starting as soon as the tide 
changed, which I understood him to say would be 
about 9 p.m. ; but at 1 1 p.m. I got up, and looking 
over the compauion-hatchway, I saw the Captain 
and all the crew fast asleep I At midnight I got 
up again, when I found two of the men beginning 
to stir, and the Captain was also in motion. He 
told me they were on the point of starting ; and in 
a few minutes the word " presta " (ready) was given 
from the engine-room ; whereupon the Captain 
called all the crew up. On this I returned to my 
bed, where I listened to the pleasing sound of 
weighing anchor and stowing the chain cable on 
the deck right over my head. By one o'clock iu 
the morning we were off : the moon was still up, 
so that we had her light till full on our course. 
At seven o'clock I got up and went on deck. It 


was a delightful still morning, the sky ratbv 
overcast, and the sea quite smooth. We were now 
steaming with the current right up the middle of 
the Gulf. Last night I read to Captain Sciassar 
what is said in the * Sailing Directions ' about the 
Palinurus having been thrice blown from her 
anchors (in 1830), which he repeated to the chief 
mate ; whereupon they congratulated themselves 
on being with me ; but who could say whether they 
would have my good fortune on their return voy- 
age. I told them the danger was in coming up, 
not in going down the Gulf, the wind being almost 
always from the north. 

At 8 a.m., the wind having shifted a little, we 
hoisted sail, and continued on a perfectly smooth 
sea ! I am now getting very anxious and nervous. 
To-morrow will perhaps decide my fate. I have 
perfect faith, and yet one cannot help doubting at 
times whether there may not, perhaps, be some 
great mistake after all. If so, I must be content 
to bear it ; but I will not doubt. I feel sure that 
I am right, and that a few hours will prove me to 
be so. I cannot be so grossly deceived. Yester- 
day it was intensely cold, the wind at times blow- 
ing very sharp : between this and the burning sun 
I have got a little erysipelas in the left ear, so this 

1 1 

JESIRA T FIR >dN. 359 

morning I have put my kefiya over my cap. It 
protects the ears, which the hat with its brim and 
puggery does not at all. The sun is burning hot 
with scarcely a breath of air this morning. 

At 10.30 a.m. we passed Jesirat Fir'dn (Pha- 
raoh's Island) opposite Akaba. 1 In the 'Sail- 
ing Directions ' this island is described thus: — 
"Jazirrat Far'aun, or Pharaoh Island, about a 
quarter of a mile long and 300 or 400 yards broad, 
lies in lat. 29 24', and from the fort and village 
of Akabah, S.W. by W. £ W., distant about eight 
miles. The fortification occupies the whole of 
the top of the island. The Arabs at Akabah will 
bring supplies to this place in five or six hours, 
but they are not to be trusted" There are caves 
in the island they say ; but I fancy they are tanks 
only. Abu Nabut speaks of a cave, lf Maghara," 
near it ; but I can get no satisfactory informa- 
tion from him. Every one must, I think, admit 
that these traditions about Moses and Pharaoh 
in this Gulf are at least quite as valuable as those 
in the Gulf of Suez ; especially when taken in 
connection with my hypothesis with respect to 
the position of Mitzraim and Midian,* and that 

1 See"Diario in Arabia Petrea,"di Giaminartino Arconati Vis- 
con ti, Rome, 1872, pp. 270-275, and Robinson's BiMical Researches, 
vol. i. pp. 160, 161. * See chap. ii. 


the Gulf of Akaba is the Yam-Suph, or Red 
(Edom) Sea — navigated by the fleets of King 
Solomon and Hyram, king of Tyre 1 — which was 
crossed by the Israelites on the occasion of their 
departure from Mitzraim, as recorded in the four- 
teenth chapter of the Book of Exodus. 

On the cumulative authority of the facts adduced 
in the second chapter of this work, it may be 
asserted without fear of confutation that by no pos- 
sibility could " the Land of Mitzraim," the country 
of the bondage of the Israelites, have been on the 
Isthmus of Suez, 2 or anywhere to the westward of 
it within the limits of the present country of Egypt, 
The result thus obtained leads directly to the fur- 
ther inference that the Gulf of Suez cannot be that 
sea which — by the direction and under the miracu- 
lous protection of the Almighty — was crossed by 
the Israelites in their flight from Mitzraim, and 
must, therefore, have been the Gulf of Akaba. 

The argument by which this conclusion has been 
arrived at, however greatly at variance with the 
notions on the subject hitherto universally adopted, 
might, doubtless, be considered of itself sufficiently 
conclusive; but it fortunately happens that we 

1 i Kings, chaps, ix. z. 
J See Origines Biblicse, p. 176, note. 


possess the means of arriving at the same result 
from the Scriptures themselves — the authority of 
which is confirmed by my disputing, as I do, the 
" traditional " explanation of the geography of the 

The arguments which are thus adducible from 
Scripture are as follows : — The scene of the mira- 
culous passage of the children of Israel is desig- 
nated by the inspired historian as the WO* 
(Yam-Suph) ; x by which designation, and by no 
other, it continued to be known to the Israelites 
throughout the whole course of their national 
history. 8 This name, it may be remarked, has been 
variously rendered in the Septuagint version by 
the expressions 'EpvOpa Oahaaaa, Oakaaaa £Uf>, and 
l<jya.Ti\ Oakaoaa ; but in the Vulgate it is (I believe 
invariably) translated Mare Rubrum, which autho- 
rity has been followed by all the modern versions 
of the Bible, in. which accordingly it is styled 
the Red Sea. In speaking, therefore, of the 
Yam-Suph, I use the expression " Red Sea" as 
a synonymous term : and at the same time, in 
order to avoid ambiguity, I distinguish the entire 

1 Origines Biblicae, p. 177 ; Exod. xv. 4. 

1 See particularly Josh. xxiv. 6 ; Ps. cxxxvi. 13, 15 ; and Neb. 
ix. 9. 


sea between the coasts of Arabia and Africa, to 
which the name of the " Red Sea " is usually applied 
by geographers, — and of which the Yam-Suph, or 
Red Sea proper, forms a part only, — by the name of 
the Arabian Gulf. So that the two head gulfs 
into which the Arabian Gulf is divided at its north- 
ern extremity are referred to by me respectively by 
the names of the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of 

The only information respecting the situation of 
the Red Sea to be derived from those texts of Scrip- 
ture in which that sea is mentioned in connection 
with Mitzraim, and as being the scene of the miracle 
wrought in favour of the Israelites, is that it lay 
in an easterly direction from Mitzraim ; l and 
that the Israelites, having crossed it, "went out 
into the Wilderness of Shur," 2 which, we are told, 
was " before (this is not necessarily the east) Mitz- 
raim, as thou goest toward Assyria." 3 

Dismissing from our minds for a moment the 
formation of the low country in the neighbour- 
hood of the Gulf of Suez, the foregoing references 
to the locality of the Red Sea might be considered 

1 " And the Lord turned a mighty strong west wind, which took 
away the locusts, and cast them into the Red Sea ; there remained 
not one locust in all the coasts of Mitzraim." — Exod. x. 19. 

2 Exod. xv. 22. 3 Gen. xxv. 18. 

RED (EDOM) SEA. 363 

to be applicable either to that Gulf or to the Gulf 
of Akaba, according to the view which we might 
take of the position of the country of Mitzraim, on 
the eastern side of which that sea is thus shown to 
have been situate* There is another set of texts, 
however, which do not refer to the passage of the 
Red Sea, but which describe the sea which washed 
the shores of Edom as being known, in the time of 
Moses, in that of Solomon, and even so late as the 
age of the Prophet Jeremiah, by the same name of 
Yam-Suph (Exodus xv. 4) : 1 which description (as 
it is by other texts of Scripture determined that 
the position of the country of Edom was to the 
southward of the Dead Sea), 2 it is evident, can- 

1 " And when we passed by from our brethren the children of 
Esau, which dwelt in Seir, through the way of the plain from Elath 
and from Ezion-gaber, we turned and passed by the way of the 
wilderness of Mnab. n — Deut ii. 8. 

" And King Solomon made a navy of ships in Ezion-geber, which 
is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Bed Sea [Yam-Suph], in the 
land of Edom." — 1 Kings ix. 26. 

" Therefore hear the counsel of the Lord, that He hath taken 
against Edom ; and His purposes, that He hath purposed against the 
inhabitants of Teman : Surely the least of the flock shall draw them 
out. The earth is moved at the noise of their fall ; at the cry the 
river thereof was heard in the Bed Sea [Yam-Suph]." — Jer. xlix. 
20, 21. 

" Then went Solomon to Ezion-geber, and to Eloth, at the sea- 
side in the laud of Edom." — 2 Chron. viiL 17. 

* " Then your south quarter shall be from the wilderness of Zin, 


not be applicable, under any circumstances, to 
the Gulf of Suez, but to the Gulf of Akaba 
alone. 1 

If, therefore, the Yam-Suph referred to by 
Moses, by Joshua, by David, and by Nehemiah, as 
the scene of the miraculous deliverance of the 
Israelites, be not the same sea as the Yam-Suph 
mentioned in connection with the couutry of Edom, 
by Moses himself, and also by Joshua, and subse- 
quently by the writers of the books of Kings and 
Chronicles, and by the Prophet Jeremiah, we are 

along by the coast of Edom, and your south border shall be the out- 
most coast of the salt sea eastward.'* — Numb, xxxiv. 3. 

" This then was the lot of the tribe of the children of Judah by 
their families ; even to the border of Edom, the wilderness of Zin, 
southward, was the uttermost part of the south coast And their 
south border was from the shore of the salt sea, from the bay that 
looketh southward." — Josh. xv. 1, 2. 

1 In Dr. Beke's Diary, 14th April 1835, ne ^y 8 : u The following 
text appears conclusive as to the position of the Yam-Suph : — * And 
I will|set thy bounds from the Bed Sea [Yam-Suph], even unto the 
sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river* (Exod. 
xxiiL 31), written (as seems certain) during the sojourn by Mount 
Sinai, before the Qulf of Akaba could have been known to Moses 
and the Israelites, according to the vulgar notion that it was the 
Qulf of Suez that was crossed by the Israelites, but yet referring to 
the Qulf of Akaba as the Yam-Suph which was to be the eastern 
limit of the Promised Land. I conceive also that Gerar must have 
been to the south of the Dead Sea, at the eastern, and not the western 
side of the Promised Land, m the country of the Philistines before 
they removed to the coast of the Mediterranean and drove out the 
Canaanites. This they must have done subsequently to the time 
of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and during the time of the bondage 
in Mitzraim." 

YAM-SUPH. 365 

led to the strange and indeed most improbable 
conclusion, that the two Gulfs of Suez and Akaba, 
which are at a distance from each other of more 
than a hundred and fifty miles, were, during the 
eutire period of the existence of the Israelitish 
nation, not merely known by the same name, 
but were even perfectly undistinguishable the 
one from the other : — a conclusion which nothing 
but the gratuitous assumption that the Gulf of 
Suez was the Red Sea passed by the Israelites 
would for a moment have allowed to be enter- 
tained. 1 

Should the arguments and proofs already ad- 
duced be not considered even more than sufficient 
to rebut that assumption, and to demonstrate that 
the Gulf of Akaba, and not the Gulf of Suez, is 
invariably referred to in Scripture by the designa- 
tion of Yam-Suph, or Red Sea * — and particularly 
that it is the sea which was passed through by the 
Israelites on their Exodus from Mitzraim — the 
statement of Scripture with respect to the natural 
agent employed by the Almighty to effect the 
miraculous passage will incontestably establish the 

1 Ludolfi, Commentarius ad Hutoriam Ethiopicam, L. 26,* 2 ; and 
D'"titp D 1 of Isaiah rL 15, probably the Gulf of Suez. 

' Dictionnairt Univerul de Geographic, tome ler, Paris, 1823, in 
Cahen's Bible, Exode, pp. 115, 116 ; Ibid., p. 22, note. 


fact thus asserted ; for the words of the text are 
totally inapplicable to the situation of the Golf of 
Suez, and can, in fact, refer only to the Gulf of 
Akaba. I refer to the words of the inspired his- 
torian with respect to the "strong east wind" 
which blew during the passage of the Israelites, 
and made them pass on dry land. 1 

Having then, as I conceive, determined beyond 
the possibility of doubt the true position of the 
Red Sea of Scripture, I may be allowed to remark, 
that there cannot be a more striking exemplifica- 
tion of the consequences of permitting any human 
authority to supersede the exercise of our reason 
than the erroneous position which, down to the pre- 
sent time, has been attributed to that sea. 

Dean Stanley, in the preface to his " Sinai and 
Palestine" (p. xxi.), after remarking that to some per- 
sons " the mere attempt to define sacred history by 
natural localities and phenomena will seem deroga- 
tory to their ideal or divine character," very justly 
adds, that " if, for example, the aspect of the ground 
should, in any case, indicate that some of the great 
wonders in the history of the Chosen People were 
wrought through means which, in modern lan- 

1 Origines BiblicaD, pp. 1 81-189, and " Mount Sinai a Volcano," 
pp. 29-31 ; Exod. xiv. 21. 



guage would be called natural, we must remember 
that such a discovery is, in fact, an indirect 
proof of the general correctness of the truth of the 

The wonder is, how an error of such moment, 
and one which was so easy of rectification, should 
during so many ages have maintained its ground 
undetected, and, as far as I have the means of 
judging, even without the slightest suspicion of its 

It is a satisfaction, however, that we at least 
possess the means of detecting and explaining to 
some extent the origin of this error, which is 
simply as follows : — Independently of the general 
ignorance of the Jews subsequently to the loss of 
their national independence, which led them to 
imagine that the Egypt of Profane History was the 
country in which the bondage of their ancestors 
had taken place, we have the most convincing 
proof from Herodotus that in his time the exist- 
ence of the Gulf of Akaba was unknown to the 
Egyptians, and, h fortiori, to the Jews then resi- 
dent in Egypt. According to his account, the sea 
to the east of the Arabian peninsula (the Persian 
Gulf of the present day), and also the Indian 
Ocean to the south of Arabia, were called by 


the name of 'EpvOpa 0dkaa<ra 9 l with which sea the 
Arabian Gulf is correctly stated by him to have 
communicated. 8 

We are more especially led to the conclusion 
that this historian, in common with the Egyptians, 
from whom he derived his information, was igno- 
rant of the existence of the eastern branch of the 
Arabian Gulf, by the statement which he makes 
when describing one of the regions into which 
he divides the world — namely, that this region 
"commences in Persia, and is continued to the 
Red Sea 'EpvOpa Oakcuraa, here the Persian Gulf. 
Besides Persia, it comprehends Assyria and Arabia, 
naturally terminating in the Arabian Gulf, into 
which Darius introduced a channel of [canal from] 
the Nile;" 8 thus unequivocally establishing his 
ignorance of the existence of any division between 
the mainland of Arabia and the peninsula of 
Pharan, or Mount Tor. 4 

1 Clio, clxxx. ; Melpom. xxxvii., xxxix. ; and see notes from 
Larcher and Bryant on the last, in Beloe's translation. It is true 
that in Melpom. xli. Herodotus refers to the Arabian Gulf by the 
name of 'EpvBpd. 0rfXcur<ra; but, at the same time, he clearly dis- 
tinguishes this from his general application of it. 

8 Euterpe, xi. 

8 Melpom. xxxix. In quoting Beloe's translation of Herodotus, 
on account of its being the version which is best known in this 
country, it is scarcely necessary to protest against its many well- 
known inaccuracies and defects. 

4 In Dr. Beke's Diary, nth November 1833, 1 find the following 


This being, then, the state of knowledge in 
Egypt respecting the Arabian Gulf 450 years be- 
fore the Christian era, we can readily understand 
how the Jews, who subsequently to that period 
resided in Egypt, and particularly in Alexandria 
the extreme western point of that country, should 
have entertained similar notions on the subject; 
and as they had (we know not how long anterior 
to the epoch of the Septuagint translation) also 
adopted the idea that the Mitzraim of Scripture 
was identical with the then flourishing kingdom of 
Egypt, under the sway of the mighty dynasty of 
the Ptolemies, — in the face, however, of the pro- 
phecies, which had said that Mitzraim should be 
"the basest of the kingdoms," 1 and that there 
should " be no more a prince of the land of 
Mitzraim," 2 — it is readily conceivable how the 
Gulf of Suez, the sea immediately to the east- 
ward of Egypt, should have been regarded as the 
Red Sea in which the host of Pharaoh was over- 
entry : " It is clear that Herodotus only knew the Arabian Gulf as a 
single straight gulf, and was unconscious of the bifurcated head. Ren- 
nell, to whom I have referred this evening, did not remark this, but 
lays down the two head gulfs in his map, showing (as he alleges) the 
notions of Herodotus on geography. This error at once explains the 
application of the name of the VflQ Q^ to the Gulf of Suez : the 
Septuagint were, in fact, ignorant of the existence of the Gulf of 
Akaba ! " 

1 Ezek. xxix. 15. * Ezek. xxx. 13. 

2 A 


whelmed. When once this conclusion had been 
formed, and the Jewish residents in Egypt had 
thence proceeded to determine (as they conceived 
satisfactorily,) the sites of the several localities 
connected with that miraculous occurrence, it 
would have been expecting too great; a concession 
from that bigotry which unfortunately has gene- 
rally characterised the Rabbins and their disciples, 
that they should have been induced, simply by an 
effort of reason, to reconsider and to impugn the 
authority which they had thus recognised ; so that 
the knowledge subsequently acquired of the exis- 
tence of the Gulf of Akaba would have availed 
them literally nothing. 

Yet, however the Jews may have persisted in 
the error into which they had in the first instance 
unintentionally fallen, it is quite inconceivable 
how this erroneous authority should have so un- 
hesitatingly been followed by Christian commen- 
tators and travellers, who possessed ample means 
for arriving at a correct judgment, and who ought 
not to have been bound in the trammels which 
enslaved those from whom they had originally 
derived their false impressions on the subject. 

In thus establishing the fact that the Gulf of 
Akaba, and not the Gulf of Suez, is the Yam- 


Suph, or Red Sea of Scripture, we at the same 
time obtain the strongest confirmation of the in- 
ference drawn from the physical condition of 
Lower Egypt in former times, that that country 
is not the Mitzraim of Scripture. 

Having, therefore, demonstrated that the Mitz- 
raim of the Bible was not the Egypt of Profane His- 
tory, but that it was situated somewhere within 
the basin of the Wady el 'Arish, in the direction of 
the land of the Philistines, which " was near ; " l 
and that the Biblical Midian was part of the " East 
Country," 2 i.e. 9 to the east of the Gulf of Akaba; 
and further, that the Red Sea of Scripture, through 
which the Israelites passed on their flight from 
Mitzraim, was not the Gulf of Suez, but the Gulf of 
Akaba ; I shall now proceed with the narrative of 
my journey for the discovery and identification of 
the true Mount Sinai, and of the various stations 
connected with the Exodus of the Israelites from 

January 27, continued. — The sea is as smooth 
as glass. We have not met with a single sail in 

1 Exod. xiii. 17. 

2 Which my discoveries at Midian (on the 24th January 1874) 
of the " Mosque of Moses " and " Maghara Sbo'eib," or Jethro's Cave, 
now confirm. See Stanley's " Sinai and Palestine," pp. 33-35 (edit 
1864); Ibid., pp. 191, 194, post. 


the Gulf, not even a row-boat or a canoe I About 
two o'clock this morning the man on watch saw a 
green (?) and red light, which he took for a light- 
house — not very likely to be met with here. It 
must have been a fire lighted by some Beduins. 

The mountains seem to fall as we go north, but 
still they are high in the background. Akaba is 
in sight, thank God ! and the Captain is going to 
hoist his colours. It is just eleven o'clock. Milne 
made a drawing of the approach to Akaba and 
head of the Gulf, from which it will be seen that 
the earth and sky seem to meet, so little is the rise. 
Not a mound in front. It is a basin, where the 
sides slope down to a mere line in the horizon. 
As we approach nearer Akaba, the granite continues 
on both sides of the Gulf, but on the left there is 
also what appears to be limestone. On the right 
are numerous date-trees along the beach, and also 
a few round the head of the Gulf. The sea is as 
smooth as a millpond ; the plain behind is thickly 
covered with trees, and the Castle of Akaba is nearly 
hidden by the date-palms which surround it. We 
can see the people flocking down to the shore in 
great numbers, surprised, no doubt, at seeing so 
novel a sight as a steamer arrive in these waters, 
and wondering what it can mean. 




The Caravan Hadj road goes up a wady behind 
the castle. The mountains on the west side of the 
Wady Arabah are visible a long way to the north ; 
in fact, as far as the eye can see. Abu Nabut now 
tells me that he does not know of any cave here, 
and you know he so positively assured me he had 
seen it. 

At 12.30 we approached the shore, and gave a 
whistle, and at 12.40 we anchored opposite the 
castle, at a distance of nearly half a mile. The 
Captain dressed himself as well as he could without 
his uniform : in clean shirt and blue coat with naval 
buttons (crescent and anchor), and went on shore. As 
he stepped from his boat all the people crowded round 
him: the soldiers came running down from the castle, 
and (as he told me on his return) they received 
him with military salute. I feel very ill and very 
shaky. I am dreadfully nervous, and scarcely know 
what to do with myself. At half -past two o'clock 
the Captain returned bringing with him the Egyp- 
tian Muhafiz or Commander, a Lieutenant in the 
army, with forty soldiers under him. We saluted 
one another, and I ordered coffee for him ; but he 
is fasting to-day, on account of the festival to-mor- 
row, when they kill the ram on Mount Arafat at 
Mecca, and he therefore could not take any. He 


has already received orders from the Khedive to 
receive me, and has sent to the Sheikh of the Arabs, 
who is absent Without him, he says, he has no 
power to do anything for me. There are Arab 
tribes in every direction, and the Sheikh alone is 
able to protect me. When he comes I shall be 
consigned into his hands, and when I have done all 
I want to do, he will bring me back again to the 
Muhafiz. The letter to him which Consul Eogers 
had given me I handed to him. There are no ships 
here, not even a boat ; but they tell me a steamer 
came here in the time of Ibrahim Pasha, and every 
year a vessel comes from Suez to the garrison. So, 
after all, the Gulf of Akaba is not so unknown as I 
fancied. This does away with a good deal of the 
romance, does it not ? 

Most of our things having already been landed, 
at 3 p.m. we went on shore. Before leaving the 
ship I gave the Captain six dollars for the pihtf, 
and a couple of Napoleons for the crew ; for they 
have been very attentive and obliging — so much 
so, indeed, that I was almost tempted to add 
another Napoleon ; but I hold my hand on start- 
ing lest I should run short before I get back to 
Suez. When we got on shore we found our tent 
ready pitched, and that of the cook nearly ready. 



But, without going into our tent, I went straight 
to the fortress with the Commandant, who was on 
the beach waiting to welcome us. Inside the 
entrance the soldiers of the garrison were drawn 
up to receive us, and saluted me as I entered. 
They had not their guns. 

The place consists of a large square courtyard, 
just like our barrack squares, with the dwellings of 
the soldiers all round. On one side are magazines 
for the provisions, both for the soldiers and also for 
the pilgrims of the Hadj. There are loopholes all 
round the building for musketry, and at each 
corner is a cannon of seven or eight pounds. In 
the courtyard stands a fieldpiece of four or five 
pounds. Altogether, it would make a sure defence 
against any number of Beduins. The castle has 
lately been done up, and looks really quite respect- 
able. A kind of divan was formed for us on one 
side of the courtyard, a mat and cushions being 
placed on a sort of raised bank. Coffee was then 
brought to us, of which I had to drink three cups. 
The Commandant now excused himself because he 
had to go and superintend the distribution of the 
rations of meat for the feast, which commences this 
evening ; and whilst we were sitting there a can- 
non was fired off to signalise its commencement. 


The garrison consisted formerly of the Towara 
Arabs, but eight months ago these were replaced 
by Egyptian regular soldiers. Besides the Com- 
mandant there are two other officers, one of whom 
is the scribe (adjutant or quartermaster), who came 
to arrange with the Captain as to the bill of health, 
which, on leaving the ship and landing here, has 
to be entered, the Commandant affixing his seal. 
After sitting and talking some time, we came on 
to our tents, accompanied by two officers, to whom 
we gave coffee. I was then left in peace to write 
up my journal. 

I am in great anxiety as to what I am to do. I 
wanted to give you some certain news by the 
' Erin ' on her return ; but this unfortunate ab- 
sence of the Sheikh of the Arabs, and this holiday, 
interferes with me, and I fear the Captain will be 
obliged to leave. But he must be dismissed by 
me, and I have told him I cannot do this until 
the arrival of the Sheikh, so that I may be able to 
report. He tells me — though I scarcely can be- 
lieve him — that his first orders were to bring me 
to Akaba and wait for me. This is contrary to 
all I heard at Suez, and even to what M?Killop 
Bey wrote to me. I have M?Killop's letter now 
before me, in which he expressly says she was not 


to return to Suez, but to coal at Tor, and proceed 
to Massowah. I have spoken to Milne about it, 
and he tells me it was Seid Bey who thought so 
at first; but of course he knew nothing of the 

A sentry is placed at the door of our tent, and 
three others are picketed here, their arms being 
piled near the other tents. The Muhafiz is deter- 
mined to do us all honour. At about six o'clock I 
saw the guard changed in due form, the corporal 
standing by while the one sentry gave the consigne 
to the other : we were then just sitting down to 
dinner, Milne having come in with sketches of all 
sorts. Whilst we were eating, the Muhafiz came 
from on board ship. As he looked in at our tent 
door, I could not but say, "tifuddd" (favorisca), 
on which he entered and sat down. Of course I 
said " Bismillah" but he said it was yet an hour 
before he could eat. Hardly had this conversation 
transpired when Abu Nabut came in and most 
unceremoniously told him to ainolich, he had no 
business to intrude ; on which the poor man 
bundled off without so much as saying "Good- 
bye." It was hardly decent; but still we could 
not help laughing. In the evening a few drops 
of rain fell. There must have been a good deal of 


rain in the upper country. After dinner I felt 
myself so tired and exhausted that I was glad to 
go to bed early. 

January 28, The Feast of Bairam. — At sunrise 
three guns were fired from the fortress. I find 
that Abu Nabut has sent away our guard in order 
that they may keep the feast. I fancy he does 
not care to have to support them, which would 
hardly fail to be the case were they to remain here. 
The ' Erin ' is decked out with all the colours of 
the rainbow : the British flag being now at the 
foremast head. I have had a famous good wash, 
and put on all clean clothes, of which I was in 
need, after all the dirt we had experienced on 
board. I did not sleep very well, but I feel myself 
very much better this morning. The wind is now 
from the south. 

At 8 a.m. we heard lots of firing of musketry, 
but we did not trouble ourselves to go and see what 
was doing. There is a village here composed of 
miserable mud huts, and the whole population may 
be some two hundred souls, including the garrison. 
Each soldier has his " wife." The date plantations 
are enclosed within mud walls. I have invited our 
Captain to dine with us to-day, and have been 
writing letters for him to take back to Suez, ex- 


pressure of my satisfaction. The wind continues 
to blow strongly from the south, and it is raining 
hard and thundering ! By 3.30 p.m. the storm 
had become terrific, so that Captain Sciassar could 
not leave if he would. After luncheon he came to 
ask me for some medicine for the people in the vil- 
lage, so I had to open my medicine-chest. You 
naughty girl I what a variety you have given me. 
I won't take any of them, but shall bring them all 
home to you. Thank God, I have as yet no occa- 
sion for them. 

In the course of the afternoon the Commandant 
paid me a visit, accompanied by his Lieutenant. 
We talked of things in general, and, in the course 
of conversation, I learned that his pay is equal to 
£4 per month, of which fifty shillings are in rations, 
and thirty only in money ! He has three rations, 
and can sell two if he does not use them. Glorious 
pay this for a Commandant ! The garrison here 
were Bashi Bazuks — irregular native troops — till 
the present, regular, force came eight months 

January 29, Thursday. — Fine still weather. 
The Sheikh has not yet come, and there are no 
signs of him ; but they say he will surely be here 
to-day. However I am impatient, and have sent 


Abu Nabut to the Haz Bashi (centurion) to say 
that, if I cannot move about from here, I shall go 
back in the ship to Cairo, and report it to the 
Khedive : that I did not come here to remain 
* seated' day after day. This had the desired 
effect, and soon brought the Centurion (such is 
the Commandant's rank in the army) to me. 
At first he said he had no power to protect me, 
except close to the fortress. But on my explain- 
ing I only wanted to go to Wady Ithem first, he 
said he would himself accompany me so far. He 
therefore went off to prepare the escort. Abu 
Nabut thought I was going myself, and got ready 
the camels and also commenced preparing the 
takhterawdn ; but I stopped this, telling him Mr. 
Milne would go alone. 

I want him to see the three low hills Dean 
Stanley speaks of, and to tell me what he thinks of 
them — whether volcanic or not. As he comes back 
he will look at the head of the Gulf, and at the 
mountains on the other side of the Arabah, where 
he ought to find caves. I am told there are caves 
six hours up the Wady Arabah, but they are too 
far off for my purpose. There is also a cave up the 
mountain opposite. This shows that there are 
plenty of " caves " about here. And so it must be, 


inasmuch as this is the country of the Horites, or 
"Dwellers in Caves" — Troglodites. Close to the 
shore here, within a few feet only, fresh water may 
be obtained by making a hole in the sand with the 
hands, a few inches deep. This shows that we are 
at the mouth of a large wady, with plenty of water 
above. North-north-east of us I have had pointed 
out to me, at a distance of half a day's journey or 
so, Mount Bdghir, where I was at first told was some 
memorial of Moses. But it turns out to be, upon 
further inquiry, a Wdy's tomb, which is visited by 
the Beduins. 

I have written to Mr. Bates a few lines, which I 
enclose. If you please, you can refer him to what 
is said anywhere in the newspapers about my 
journey. It would be well for Sir Bar tie Frere to 
be able to make some communication respecting 
my proceedings, as the meetings of the Royal Geo- 
graphical Society are now being held. When Cap- 
tain Sciassar was dining with us last night, he told 
me that he had mixed the charcoal which he got 
from Aintinah with his coal, and so made up some 
eight tons of it ; but it is very weak fuel. 

When we were at Midian (Madian) it appears 
that a hole was found in the ' Erin's ' bottom ; but 
it was stopped by the pilot's diving. I noticed his 


plunging into the water, but thought he was only 
enjoying a swim. 

9 a.m. — Milne is off with the Haz (Turkish for 
ioo) Bashi, and Hashim (as interpreter), mounted 
on camels. They take their lunch with them, and 
will, doubtless, be away all the day. Before night 
I may probably know something definite. If Milne 
finds that Dean Stanley's " three low peaks" are vol- 
canic, the point may be looked upon as settled. If 
not, it will not follow that I am wrong ; only we 
shall have to go further afield. Still I confess I 
shall be disappointed. All I can say is, that I am 
in Gods hands. I am now getting everything 
ready for the departure of the ' Erin/ which will 
take place either to night or to-morrow morning. 
I have just seen the Captain and arranged with 
him. Abu Nabut has just been to me for more 
money, so I have given him five pounds. I am now 
awaiting Milne's return and report ; but I am not 
nearly so nervously anxious as I have been. At 
all events, I am resigned to my fate, whatever in 
God's providence it may be, and I am sanguine and' 
confident as to the result. I can now do little or 
nothing of myself. I am in His hands, to do with 
me as it seems good to Him. 

3 p.m. — I have had a nice nap for a couple of 


hours. As to the Sheikh, there is still no sign of 
him, and I fear I shall have to wait. It is well 
that I have acted without him. Captain Sciassar 
has come on shore with his sextant to regulate his, 
and my time by the sun. He makes my watch 
fifty minutes fast. I know that I have been 
gaining, but hardly think it can be so much. 
However, this cannot much signify, as we have 
no astronomical observation to make. In other 
respects I am well satisfied with my watch : 
it only wants regulating. In Egypt I could do 
nothing with it, as every timepiece there seemed 
to keep different time. When you receive my 
telegram from Suez of my safe return, you must 
telegraph back to me at once. It is blowing so 
hard again that I cannot write. I am just told 
that the Sheikh is coming. 

3.45 p.m. — At half-past four o'clock the Sheikh of 
the Aluwm came in with Milne, whom he had fallen 
in with on the mountains, and wanted to know what 
right he had to be there without his leave. He was 
dressed in all the colours of the rainbow, with a long 
curved silver-handled sword by his side ; and Milne 
says he is stuck all over with pistols ; but I do not 
see them on account of their being covered by his 
abba (Arab cloak). He was accompanied by two 


other Sheikhs of lower rank. I had gone to the 
door of the tent to look out, and so came upon 
him there, which I was sorry for. He said €t Good 
morning " in English, which is the extent of his 
knowledge of the language. 

Having entered the tent and sat down, the usual 
compliments took place. Abu Nabut explained, at 
my request, that I had come to see the country ; 
that I had been to Ayoun el Kassab, the Madian, 
Ac. I then gave him the Khedive's firman and Mr. 
Rogers's letter. The former he opened, and the 
Muhafiz, who had come back with Milne, and was 
sitting by the Sheikh, read the contents, or at least 
gave him some idea of them. He listened, but 
made no remark, and soon afterwards asked for 
chukha (tobacco). Abu Nabut interpreted this to 
me, but, with my slight knowledge of Arabic, I had 
already understood, and I asked him if this was 
decent and respectful conduct in my tent ? Abu 
Nabut said they were Beduins, and such was their 
custom ; and I replied that it was a bad custom, 
and ought not to be encouraged. However, I gave 
him a packet of tobacco, one of several I brought 
from Cairo. He then began talking, and coffee 
was brought, of which he drank one cupful, 
and immediately held out his cup for a second. 


These manners do not suit me, so I thought it 
time to mount the high-horse, and I therefore said 
he had read the Khddive's firman, and I wished 
to know what answer he had to give to it. If he 
was ready to obey it, good : I wished to start 
to-morrow morning, and I should write to Nubar 
Pasha to that effect. If not, I would return to 
Suez on board the * Erin.' He replied that he 
would study the contents of the firman and let 
me know. But I said this would not do — I must 
have his answer directly. 

I then asked Captain Sciassar to thank the Haz 
Bashi for his politeness in accompanying Mr. Milne, 
and wished to know his name in order that I 
might have the pleasure of mentioning him to the 
Khedive. It is Mohammed Mahmud, Muhafiz of 
Akaba. This I duly noted down. While I was 
thus engaged the Sheikh wanted to speak to me, 
but I told Abu Nabut he must wait, as I was en- 
gaged. When I had done with the Muhafiz, he 
took his leave with Captain Sciassar, and then I 
sat down and told Abu Nabut I was ready to attend 
to the Sheikh. The latter now stood up, and, with 
the strongest protestations and asseverations, ex- 
pressed his readiness to take me everywhere I 
pleased to go, to supply me with camels and horses 

2 B 



if I wanted them, and to place himself and all about 
him at my disposal I said I was satisfied, and it 
was settled that we are to start to-morrow morning 
early ; and so he left. 

Now as regards Milne's explorations of the day. 
He tells me he went some two miles up Wady 
Ithem, and saw no " three low peaks "—nothing 
but high granite mountains. He ascended the 
winding valley to a height of 900 feet, and then 
went up the side of a mountain some 600 feet 
more, but could see nothing before him but lofty 
granite mountains. I cannot understand how 
Dean Stanley could have been so mistaken. I am 
therefore so far disappointed : especially as I shall 
have to travel some six hours before I get to the 
plain described by Burckhardt — whose veracity 
and accurate descriptions are unquestionable — 
as being covered with " flints," and which I be- 
lieve to be the Hama Radjld. Thus nothing has 
occurred to affect my views generally. I can only 
say I should have been misled by Dean Stanley's 

It is blowing very hard, and the Captain is 
obliged to get up his steam in order to prevent 
the ship running on shore. We may congratulate 
ourselves on being out of it. 

( 3»7 ) 



January 30, 1874. — Yesterday evening I made 
up my letters and gave them to the Captain of the 
* Erin * at half-past five o'clock, but the weather 
was so bad that the boat could not come off from 
the ship to take him on board. Milne made up a 
box of stones (geological specimens) we have col- 
lected for the Captain to take to Suez and leave in 
charge of the P. and 0. Company's agent there. 
At 8 p.m. Abu Nabut came to me for more money, 
saying the Arabs were " eating him up ; " so I gave 
him five pounds more. Then I went out to look at 
the weather. It was rather calmer, but still not 
sufficiently so for the Captain to go on board. I 
found the sentry again at my tent door, with four 
others picketed ; the Sheikh's spear being also stuck 
in the ground between the two tents ; so that if we 
are now not protected enough it is a pity. 


The Captain took tea with us, and told me the 
story of the little i Erin/ She was built in 1856 
for Bazaine's Company at Constantinople, and came 
over to Alexandria, where she was laid up for 
several years ; till one day M?Killop Bey was in- 
duced to buy her to use as a tug. She was, how- 
ever, not found strong enough for the work, so a 
tank was put in her, and she was employed to 
carry water to the ships ; but as she consumed at 
least one ton of coals for every ton of water, this 
did not pay. On one occasion Sciassar, who was 
in command of her, took water to a Turkish frigate, 
which only wanted two tons at two shillings = 4s. 
It cost £5 to carry this on board — namely, one 
ton and a half of coals at 60s., with oil, &c, for 
the engine, to say nothing of the ship's own 
expenses ! So this was given up ; and Munzinger 
Bey wanting a steamer at Massowah, it was settled 
that she should go to him, when I came in the 
way. But she is unfit for Munzinger, and unfit 
to have brought me here, as her bottom is per- 
fectly rotten and not thicker than a sheet of 
paper. When painting her, the brush actually 
went through the iron, so completely is it rusted. 
It is quite a miracle that we reached Akaba in safety. 
Of course the Khedive knew nothing of this, or 


he would not have given her to me; but the 
authorities ought to have known. 

It will be high-wate* here to-day at about 4. 30 
a.m., so Captain Sciassar reminds me that I shall 
want to note this for my calculations this day week. 
I was up this morning at half-past five, and ordered 
Abu Nabut to begin packing. He demurred, and 
talked about this being the first day, and that 
we could not do much, and he had to make pur- 
chases, &c. Whereupon I told him that if he de- 
layed it should be on his own account. 

There was now a regular row between Abu 
Nabut and the Sheikh of the Aluwin, into which 
the former wished to bring me. He pretended that 
I was to pay for the Sheikh's escort, and also for the 
camels which he insists on forcing on him. Those 
that Abu Nabut has engaged belong to the Towdra 
tribe, and have therefore no right to go on the 
ground of the Aluwin. I think Master Abu Nabut 
has made a mull of it ; but that is no affair of 
mine. I blew up Abu Nabut furiously, and told 
him I would report him when I got back to Cairo. 
The contract is that he is to pay everything, and 
I hold him to his contract. The Captain was 
fortunately still here, and he spoke seriously to 
him, telling him how unreasonable his conduct was, 


and that if I was content to give him money to 
pay the Beduins with, he should receive it under 
protest, if he pleased, and then refer the matter to 
the Consul in the usual way. And so it was settled 
that I should give him ten pounds more, which he 
handed over to the Sheikh — half for an escort at 
twelve dollars a head, as agreed with the Khedive, 
and the other half for the camels, which he does 
not furnish, and so all was arranged peaceably. 

Other money matters had, however, to be agreed 
upon by Abu Nabut, causing no end of quarrelling 
and noise. Among other things, the Muhafiz de- 
sired to be paid for the guard he had placed over 
us. If we had gone into the fort as be offered, there 
would have beeu nothing to pay, so he said ; but 
as we chose to encamp outside, it was his duty to 
place a guard over us, and these must be paid. 
Abu Nabut offered ten francs, with which they 
were not satisfied ; but at length it was taken, the 
Captain of the f Erin ' saying that when we came 
back to Egypt it should be seen into. 

At length the camels were loaded, and we were 
off at 8.15 A.M. Captain Sciassar remained to see 
us start. He was exceedingly kind, and has been 
very useful. I hope the letters I have written 
about him will be of service to him, for he is a very 


good fellow. I must mention that before we started 
the Sheikh gave the Muhafiz a receipt under his 
seal for the bodies of me and " my son," whom he 
binds himself to restore to the Muhafiz safe and 
sound, barring any visitation of God. I mounted to 
my takhterawdn by means of a ladder, which Abu 
Nabut had made and brought on for the purpose ; 
and really I find my travelling carriage not at all un- 
comfortable. There is absolutely no fatigue, and the 
shaking is insignificant at the slow rate of travel- 
ling of the camels : no doubt I should be a good 
deal shaken if they went fast. I shall not trouble 
you here with the details of the journey, which are 
duly consigned to my route-book. All I need say is, 
that we went along at the head of the Gulf of Akaba, 
and up Wady Ithem, in a north-easterly direction 
generally. Our escort consisted of the great Sheikh 
of the Aluwin and two other Arabs mounted on 
horses, and there was a Beduin on a camel who 
carried the great man's spear : we form quite an 
imposing caravan altogether; and there was the 
little daughter of one of the tribe, who ran along, 
followed by three young goats almost as big aa 
herself. I busied myself in making notes, and 
Milne on the back of his camel amused himself 
reading Macaulay's " Biographical Essays/' On our 


road we met some Arabs, who went up to the 
Sheikh and shook hands with him, and then 
kissed their own hands. He, like our own great 
people, held out his hand to be shaken or kissed. 

At about 2 p.m. we passed Jebel B&ghir, which we 
had seen from Akaba. This is a most important sub- 
ject, as I shall have to tell you by and by. Soon after- 
wards the Sheikh stopped at a place where he wished 
us to encamp ; but I, who have made up my mind 
that he shall obey me, and not I him, said I pre- 
ferred going on, to which he assented. But I had 
for some time past during the journey been thinking 
that my going farther nortA-eastward along Wady 
I them would be to no purpose, as it would only 
lead me out of my road. If " Mount Sinai " was a 
li volcano " seen by the Israelites on their way from 
Succoth [Kellaat-el-Nakhl], it would be to the east, 
or somewhat to the southward of east ; and, therefore, 
every step I was taking to the north must of necessity 
be out of the way. I therefore seriously thought of 
not going further, but of retracing my steps and 
proceeding up Wady Am ran, a branch wady of 
Wady el I them, running to the east or southward 
of east. Therefore, after I had gone a short dis- 
tance further than where Sheikh Mohammed had 
thought of stopping, I decided on halting at a spot 


behind a mountain screened from the wind, which 
his was not, as he and every one else admitted. 
So far all was right. 

On the road the Sheikh and I had kept apart, 
each standing on his dignity; but shortly before 
we stopped he passed me and saluted me, and I 
returned his salute, and since then we have been 
bosom friends ! And one of the results of our alli- 
ance is, that he has been telling me the story of 
Jebel Bdghir, which, he says, is a holy mountain ; 
on the summit of which is the tomb of a wely or 
saint, and at the foot of it is a mosque ; and every 
time the Hadj returns from Mecca to Cairo, sounds 
are heard in the mountain like the firing of a can- 
non. This, he solemnly assures me, he has himself 
heard with his own ears, and, he says, he is pre- 
pared to bring me ten, or even twenty persons, who 
have likewise heard it. Our servant, Hashim, tells 
me he heard the same story from several persons 
at Akaba t 

I am writing now at 8.30 p.m., and Milne and I 
have just heard thunder, or something which, he says, 
must surely come from Jebel Bdgbir I Well, this 
mountain turns out, in fact, to be the " Jebel-e'- 
Nur," which, you will recollect, I heard of at Cairo ; 
and the long and the short of it is, that to-morrow 


Milne is going up it, accompanied by Hashim and 
a couple of Beduins. It is very steep and very 
high ; and from its summit are seen the pseudo- 
Mount Sinai, that is to say, " Mount Tor," on the one 
hand, and " Mount Hor," near Petra, on the other ; 
and if any volcanoes are to be seen, they will be 
visible also from this mountain. Milne and Hashim 
are to have horses to the foot of the steepest part, 
which latter they must ascend on foot. Abu Nabut 
tells Mr. Milne he must take with him a telegraph — 
or, correcting himself, a photograph — meaning a 
telescope! The fellow made me laugh till I was 
almost ill, and I cannot refrain from laughing whilst 
I am writing about it. 

It has now begun to rain heavily, and a Beduin 
is at work making a trench round our tent. Milne 
remarked that the only use he has found for the 
umbrella he bought to protect him from the burn- 
ing sun is to keep off the rain. It is thundering 
heavily, accompanied by lightning. 1 This is the 
sound from Jebel-e'-Nur, which, even if I should 
be disappointed in finding a volcano, will prove a 
rival " Mount Sinai." Abu Nabut tells the people 
that I am sent here by the Khddive, the Queen of 
England, the Emperor of Russia, and all the other 

1 Exod. xix. 9-16. 


great people, to find out the ' true Mount Sinai/ 
and that then all the Khawdjas will visit it, instead 
of the traditional Mount Sinai within the Peninsula 
of Tor, or Pharan, as I prefer to call it. There is 
nothing like it, except the storm that is now raging 
in these mountains ! 

January 3 1 . — It was really a terrific storm last 
night, the rain coming down in torrents, and the 
lightning and thunder were frightful, some of the 
claps being right over our heads. This storm is 
almost like a judgment upon me, who feel like 
Balaam, the son of Beor. 1 If this is really the true 
Mount Sinai, it is as little a ' volcano ' as the tradi- 
tional one is, or else geology is all at fault. The 
same arguments that Sir George Airy uses to 
prove that the traditional mountain was volcanic, 
will, however, apply to this mountain also, for the 
geological formation of both appears to be the same. 
On this point I hope to be satisfied during the day; 
for this morning my companion Mr. Milne is off up 
the mountain, accompanied by Hashim and a Be- 
duin on horseback, with others on foot. Before he 
started, and as soon as we had breakfasted, we got 
out the Royal Geographical Society's azimuth com- 
pass, aneroid, and thermometer, and after having 

1 Numb, xxiii. 1 1. 


compared the aueroid with the one Milne lias, he took 
with him mine, and left me his own to compare 
during the day ; and at 8. 1 5 a .m. off he started. 

The sky is still overcast, and, unless it improves, 
I fear he will not do much good ; but it is better 
he should get near the summit) and there await his 
opportunity. I envy him his trip more than I can 
tell you ; but I feel my utter incompetency to un- 
dertake the ascent, and therefore I am resigned. 

Sheikh Mohammed tells me that he has heard 
from his father, who was ninety years old, and who 
heard it from his father, that in former times sig- 
nals were made from the three mountains, Jebel 
Tor, Jebel-e'-Nur, and Jebel H&rfin (Mount Hor, 
near Petra), by fires lighted during the night The 
view from the summit of Jebel-e'-Nur (Mount Brig- 
hir) is most extensive, and Milne, with his azimuth 
compass, will take the bearings of all places visible 
from it. He will, in particular, be able to see 
whether there are any volcanoes within sight: if 
not, I shall most certainly not go to look for any, 
as in that case they would be too far off for 
the position I attribute to Mount Sinai. I have 
enough in this Jebel-e'-Nur. I spell the name 
with our English € J ' instead of the German ' Dj : ' 
and I shall write e' Nur, instead of en Nilr, 


which is the usual, but, I think, needless way 
of representing el Nur,— the proper Arabic spell- 
ing being Jebel-el-Nur. You know the Koh-i- 
nur is spelt with "i," the meaning of the name 
being " Mountain of Light " in Persian, as Jebel-e'- 
Nur is in Arabic. Do you not think, dearest Milly, 
that I have been highly favoured ? — for, should I not 
succeed in finding a volcano, I shall, at all events, 
have found a " Mount Sinai " precisely where I 
have said for so many years that it ought to be 
found. I expect that the summit of this " Moun- 
tain 0/ Light" will have been visible to the Israelites 
on their march all the way from Kellaat-el-Nakhl, 
where I place Succoth, and through which place I 
shall have to go on my return to Suez. 1 

The reason why Abu Nabut has joined the 
Emperor of Bussia with the Queen of England as 
being interested in my researches is, that when 
at Akaba I was telling him of the marriage of the 
Duke of Edinburgh with the Grand-Duchess Maria, 
and of the alliance between these two great nations. 
He is a man of vivid imagination, like our old 
dragoman, Mikhail Hene, hence his mistake. But 
after all, you see he was right about Jebel-e'-Nur at 

1 On his way from Akaba to Suez, Dr. Beke mention* the exten- 
sive view of the summit of Mount Baghir and the head of the Gulf 
of Akaba " from Has el Satkh." See page 455, 


Cairo, only when pressed for explanations he could 
not give them. I am now writing in my tent 
alone, very happy, but very cold ; however the sun 
is brightening, and I trust it will turn out fine 
after all. The scene from my tent door is very 
grand and imposing, but still solemn and peaceful 
withal. The little Arab girl who came with us ia 
sitting up on the side of the mountain in front of 
my tent door, looking after her goats, which are 
browsing near her. 

During the past night Abu Nabut had his tent 
full of Arabs, who all came swarming in out of the 
rain. It ran through our tent, and the trench out- 
side had to be deepened round it. You know all 
about this from your experience in Syria and 
Abyssinia, and will understand the discomfort and 
the difficulty we have in keeping the water from 
flooding the inside of our tent My man has been 
for some more tobacco for Sheikh Mohammed. He 
is now so amiable and obliging that the least I 
could do was to send him a small packet. He came 
to my tent door this morning to wish me ' good 
night ' — his English extending only to ' good morn- 
ing ' and ' good night/ which he does not always 
apply properly — like Abu Nabut with his ' tele- 
graph ' and ' photograph.' Milne did not forget to 


take his 'telegraph' with him, as the poor old 
fellow calls it. 

With this and his other instruments, and his 
hammer and his drawing-block, box of paints, and 
my brandy flask, &c, he was pretty well loaded 
for such an ascent. But he is a famous fellow 
when there is work in hand, and turns to it 
like a man. He is really a very clever young man, 
and invaluable to me on this journey, and I am 
anxious to give him full credit for all he does. He 
feels that he is working for himself not less than 
for me, and in a good cause. I hope and trust it 
may bring us both good ; but I am more thanffty 
years older than he is, and my life is now almost 
spent. I gave Milne my pocket-flask filled with 
whisky, as he may want it, for he will find it 
dreadfully cold up there : in this respect I do not 
envy him his trip. How thankful I am to have 
some one so competent to do my work for me. 
But there is still a great deal of work to do, and 
here I must positively remain till I shall have been 
able to make proper observations ; and although 
the glass is rising and it promises to be fair, I fear 
that Milne will not have been able to do anything (or 
little) to-day, on account of its being so overcast 
I must give a full account of ' my Mount Sinai.' 


Abu Nabut has a regular poultry-yard round the 
door of his tent — he having let his fowls, some 
fifteen or sixteen, and a turkey, out of their coop : 
I will do him the justice to say that he feeds us 
well, infinitely better than Mikhail did when we 
were in the Holy Land. We have always soup, 
boiled and roast, sweets and dessert ! ! Only think 
of that in the Desert It is almost as good as you 
and I had in Abyssinia at the foot of the Slmmfaito 
Mountain, when going up the Taranta Pass to HalaL 
I allude to the (tinned) rump-steak, with oyster- 
sauce, and plum-pudding, the latter made by our 
old cook, and carried all that distance from home. 

I am sorry to see the ' glass ' going back a little ; 
by this I mean the aneroid, which acts as a baro- 
meter. I see that the Sheikh's spear is laid on the 
ground at the back of my tent, in the opposite 
direction to the other tent in which he himself 
is : this serves as a safeguard to me on both sides ! 
I am getting very anxious to know what Milne has 
done. Abu Nabut has just been to inquire how 
many hours he has been away. I fear he will have 
done but little good to-day, and if so, we shall have 
to remain here. It cannot be helped : it is a neces- 
sary part of my mission. As it is, I am quite satis- 
fied. I have found my ' Mount Sinai,' which turns 



out not to be a volcano, or at least cannot be 
proved to have been one ; but at the same time 
cannot be proved not to have been one. This will 
surely please both parties, I hope [or perhaps no 
one at all] : the anti-traditionists, who will have 
seen a deathblow given to the traditional Mount 
Sinai ; and the traditionists, who do- not like the 
Scripture History to be deprived of its miraculous 
character. However, I have still to hear from Mr. 
Milne whether there are any volcanoes to be seen 
from the summit. I only desire to ascertain the 
truth. The prayer that the Hadjis say when they 
come in sight of this mountain is the fdtha, or first 
chapter of the Koran — " Bismillah er rakhman er 
rakheem, Alhumdul-illah," &c. 

1 p.m. — I am sorry to say it has just begun rain- 
ing again. A Sheikh of this neighbourhood has 
come into the camp, who tells me that Mount 
B&ghir has always been known as the "Mountain 
of Light." At the foot of it is the mosque or 
praying-place of Ali ibn 'Elem, a famous saint from 
Jaffa * or its neighbourhood, who (so Abu Nabut 
says) has a large mosque there ; and at the very 
summit of tl 
rounded wit! 

1 In Chapter i 


(and bones ?) of sheep and goats sacrificed there. 
If such be the case, Milne will have something to 
say on the subject. 

As I was noting the saint's name down in my 
pocket - book, Sheikh Mohammed looked with 
curiosity at the ' style ' with which I was writing, 
as being something unusual ; so I took a bit of 
paper out of my pocket, and wrote on it with the 
style, but of course without making any mark ; I 
then wrote on the prepared paper in the book, and 
likewise, of course, made marks. This astonished 
him and the bystanders vastly ; but they were still 
more astonished and amused when I took one of 
Bryant & May's safety matches and rubbed it on 
the box on all sides without its lighting, till I 
touched the black side, when it at once blazed up. 
This, said Sheikh Mohammed, was like myself : I 
looked around me at the mountains on every side 
till I came to the right * Mountain of Light ! ' 
What think you of that for a figure ? 

This Mountain of Light is undoubtedly a great 
discovery. And yet, can it be that it has never been 
known before ? It is astonishing to me, and yet we 
see such strange things to be every day. I wonder 
what Milne is about ? It is now more than 2. 1 5, 
so that he has been away fully six hours. At half- 

" jebel-e'-nCB (THE M 


past two I went down to the watercourse in the 
'plain' to get a view of the mountain, of which I 
have made a rough sketch, which will serve if 
Milne .does not make a proper drawing of it ; but 
he must do so, as it will make a beautiful picture, 
and a most impressive one too, for the view is a 
really magnificent one. Mount Sinai (Jebel Bdghir) 
would have been visible to thousands or hundreds 
of thousands of people encamped in the « plain ' here 

It is beginning to rain again, and I am really 
getting anxious about Milne and his party ; I 
wish they were back. Anticipating that he would 
return very cold and tired, I ordered the soup to 
be got ready for him on his arrival. It was not, 
however, till 4.25 p.m., that he came in, very cold, 
but none the worse for a most interesting excur- 
sion. Abu Nabut having understood that I wanted 
the whole dinner to be got ready, it was at once 
served, and Milne proceeded to pour into my eager 
and impatient ears the particulars and adventures 
of the day. He went to the very summit, and 
found the horns and heads of the animals slaugh- 
tered there, just as I had been told. It was so 
cloudy that he could not see very much, but he 
was able to distinguish a large c plain* to the north- 


east of this, into which, in fact, this valley opens. 
The view in this direction is shut out by a very 
lofty mountain on the other side of Wady Ithem. 

On inquiring of Sheikh Mohammed the name of 
that mountain, he told me it is Eretrfwa (or 
Ert<5wa), and Abu Nabut says that when people 
have been travelling two days or more without 
water, and then find it and drink it, they say 
" Eretdwa." What this means literally I cannot 
pretend to say, but I think that we have here the 
Bephidim of Scripture, 1 and this mountain is 
Horeb.* The Great Plain beyond the two moun- 
tains will be the encamping ground of the Israelites 
before Sinai.* 

It is clear therefore to me, that it is my duty to 
go up into the plain, which is only six hours from 
hence. We shall then return on the following day, 
and passing the spot where we are now encamped, 
shall go down as far as the junction of Wady Am- 
ran, where we shall stop; and on the following 
day we shall proceed to the opposite (west) side of 
the Arabah, at the head of the Gulf of Akaba, 
without returning to Akaba itself, where we have 
no need to go. Thence I would hope to proceed 
on our homeward journey. 

1 Exod. xvii 1-3. 2 Exod. xvii. 5-7. s Exod. xix. 2. 


This plain beyond " Sinai n and " Horeb " ex- 
plains most satisfactorily the journey of the 
Israelites from Elim. They went down on the 
west side of the continuation of the range of moun- 
tains on which we now are, and returned on the 
eastern. This plain we are going to see would hold 
millions, Milne says. 

He has brought me a fine piece of quartz from 
the very summit of Sinai, which I have put 
by for you : It is the same kind of stone as 
the Brazilian pebbles, of which they make the 
best spectacles. He is very busy with his speci- 
mens and notes, and has not time yet to tell me 
further particulars ; as it is of the first importance 
that he should place what he has done in order. 
He fell in with some Beduins up the mountain, 
who, thinking the Sheikh had come, killed a sheep 
in his honour, of which Milne had to partake, and 
as the Sheikh was not there, they smeared his 
horse with the blood in order to let him know 
what they had done for him. Altogether Milne is 
in high spirits at his trip, and with reason. He 
has found and copied some " Sinaitic Inscriptions " 
of our own. He tells me that the Gulf of Akaba, 
though at least eight miles off in a direct line, 
seems as if one could drop a plumb-line into it, so 


close and straight down below it seems. On a 
rough estimate he was 5000 feet high 1 

But I will now relate the particulars of the 
ascent of Mount Sinai (Mount B&ghir), in Mr. 
Milne's own words : — 

" At 8 A.M., although it was cloudy and thun- 
dering, I mounted the Sheikh's horse, which he 
lent me, and with five others, two mounted (Ha- 
shim and the Sheikh's son), and three Arabs on 
foot, started for the summit of Mount Bighir. 
(The Sheikh said ' Good night/) Our way was, 
for a mile, up a narrow wady, which grew narrower 
and narrower until it became a gorge. On the 
way we passed a stone on which were cut the 
words, ' Ya Allah 1 ' Something else had been written, 
but it was defaced, in Cufic, or old Arabic charac- 
ters. In the gorge we stopped to admire a large 
stone near which the Beduins come and say their 
prayers. This stone where the Arabs pray is about 
five feet long and two feet square, and is made of 
granite. It originally stood upright on the ground, 
about two or three feet away from the side of the 
gorge. It is now fallen over, and rests between 
its pedestal and the side of the gorge. The ' pe- 
destal ' is merely another stone on which it appears 
to have stood. 


"At the gorge we had to leave the horses with 
two of the Arabs, and going up a steep ascent to 
the left, we came to a low wall across the gorge, 
which was filled with large boulders ; and close 
above the wall on the right-hand side is a well 
about three feet across, and about the same to the 
water in it, which may be two feet of water. 1 By 
it are two nebbuk trees, one of which overhangs 
and shades it, and one stunted palm. The well 
and gorge lie in the line of a dyke of greenstone, 
which goes far up the mountain, and most probably 
reaches the summit, only it cannot be traced for 
the dibris covering it. Vegetation may here be said 
to cease, for, with the exception of a few stunted 
plants and bushes, nothing seems to live. 

" Our ascent was now a climb, the rock in places 
being nearly perpendicular. On reaching the sum- 
mit of the mountain, we found numerous skulls and 
horns, and a few bones of animals — it being the 
custom of the Beduins to come up here to pray, 
bringing with them a lamb, which they kill and eat 
on the spot. Round about were a number of low 
walls, more or less rounded in form, evidently built 
to keep the wind off. On the ridge on the left- 
hand side of the gorge, about a hundred and fifty 

1 Excxl. xvii. 6. 


yards distant from the well, we came to a pile of large 

rounded boulders of granite, on several of which 


were inscriptions, 1 which I copied as well as my cold 
fingers would allow me to do. The stones, which 
were much weathered, were externally of a dark- 
brown colour, against which the inscriptions stood 
out and made themselves visible from their being 
of a somewhat lighter colour. Before reaching the 
summit we found snow in the crevices, and, for the 
sake of saying I did it, I snowballed Hashim, who 
joined < warmly ' in the sport Whilst we were at 
the top it hailed and snowed, and was bitterly 
cold, and it was as much as I could do to take a 
few angles with the azimuth compass. My com- 
panions made a fire, and it was only by continually 
warming my fingers that I could do anything. 
Akaba seemed just below my feet, but on so dimi- 
nutive a scale, that I failed to detect the castle 
among the palm-trees, the general outline of which 
alone was visible ; the landscape in other directions 
was almost blocked out by banks of cloud, rain, 
and fog. 

"Coming back-which was on the opposite side 
of the mountain (which is about 5000 feet high), 
and far easier than the ascent — we reached a valley, 

1 For illustration see p. 422. 


where we fell in with some Beduins, who think- 
ing it was the Sheikh who was coming, had killed 
and cooked a lamb, which was ready for his re- 
ception, and of which I had to partake. It was 
a filthy, dirty mess, quite tough and scarcely fit 
to eat ; but I was afraid I should offend them if I 
refused. It is the custom whenever a Sheikh 
comes to give him mutton and milk. As it was 
not the Sheikh, but only the Sheikh's horse, they 
daubed the animal's back, just behind the saddle, 
with stripes of blood, to show the Sheikh, when he 
got his horse, what they had done for him. 

" We went into one of the miserable tents to par- 
take of their feast, and squatted down in front of 
a small fire, and got nearly smothered with the 
smoke. It was so low that one can only crouch 
down in it It consists of a black cloth made out 
of goats' hair by the women, and is supported by 
six or seven sticks, with a rope along thorn, the 
cloth being pegged with small wooden skewer* 
over the rope. It is a loose, slack, com forties 
affair, open on one side, and on the others protected 
with heaps of bushes. A bit of cloth hanging 
down the middle divided us from the women, chil- 
dren, and goats, which are all mixed up together. 
Several of the children were almost naked, having 


merely a bit of cloth thrown over their shoulders. 
I never saw such a picture of dirt, misery, and 
want. Their all would seem to consist of a few 


dirty rags, a bit of cloth for a tent, and a cracked 
wooden bowl in which they served their meat, 
which of course we had to tear in pieces and eat 
with our fingers. Eight hours after starting I 
arrived at our tents tired and cold. 

" Mount Bdghir is one of the loftiest peaks of 
the range of mountains on the east side of Wady 
Arabah and the west side of Wady Ithem, over- 
hanging the latter. It consists of a mass of red to 
pink granite, which in places where it is weathered 
has assumed a dark brown hue. Where it is dis- 
integrated the felspar and lighter mica have to a 
great extent been washed away, leaving a rough 
gravelly surface of quartz, which is of course only 
superficial, crushing under one's feet as one walks 
along. This granite contains but little mica as 
compared with other granites, and there are places 
where the rock consists of quartz and massive fel- 
spar alone, no mica being visible. 

" On the north-west side of the mountain a por- 
tion of the granite looks, at a distance, like a brownish 
yellow coarse sandstone, weathering with rounded 
surfaces. In this, numbers of cavities can be seen, 


generally ranging in size from a cocoa-nut to a 
man's head. On striking the rock with the ham- 
mer, it has not the usual clear ring of a solid rock, 
but gives a dull sound, owing to the surface being 
disintegrated, and tending to split off in flakes, 
which can be easily separated with the sharp edge 
of the hammer. 

" On the same side of the mountain are many large 
boulders the size of a house. Several of them are 
so much disintegrated on their under sides as to form 
small caverns. One in which I entered was as much 
as about twenty feet across each way, and ten or 
twelve feet high at the entrance, sloping down to- 
wards the back, the roof being dome-shaped and the 
sides curved — the absence of angular forms showing 
the granite to have flaked off in curved laminae. The 
peaks on the summit of the mountain are composed 
of granite, the hollows between tbem marking the 
position and direction in which the mass is traversed 
by dykes. And it may be stated as a general rule for 
this mountain, that the dykes do not protrude above 
the granite, but all tend to produce hollows. As an 
exception to this is the dyke on the north-east side 
of the mountain near the well, which forms a ridge 
running up the side of the mountain. These dykes 
are generally of a dark green colour, and very soft ; 


in places so much so, that, tinder the hammer, they 
crumble off like a hard clay. Where one of these 
dykes is exposed as a hard mass, it appears to be 
dioretic They are of all sizes, varying from a foot 
up to eighteen feet; and perhaps more : the run of 
them being four or five feet They are numerous, 
but not so much so as on the mountain towards the 
north, looked down upon from the summit, where 
innumerable dykes are to be seen streaking in paral- 
lel lines the entire ridged surface of the mountain." 

Bdghir and ErUowa (' Sinai • and c Horeb ') are, 
I now fancy, two of Stanley's c three low peaks. ' 
We shall be able to decide this when we get down 
into the Arabah. 

February i. — This morning before starting we 
made preparations for taking the elevation of this 
place by Captain George's mountain barometer, 
and also by boiling-point thermometers. We there- 
fore had the tent cleared after breakfast, spread a 
sheet on the ground to catch the mercury spilt, and 
opened the case, when, to our great annoyance, we 
found the tube for the mercury broken in half. I 
had been careful in not having the instruments un- 
done before we wanted them for use. Here, where 
we really wanted the barometer, we found it useless. 
We put this then aside, and rigged up the boiling- 


point thermometer, bat, when we unscrewed the 
spirit lamp, we found it dry, and there was no 
supply of spirits. So this too was a failure ! We 
tried to boil the instrument in a saucepan of water, 
lighting a fire for the purpose ; but the water inside 
the case would not boil ; so we took the thermo- 
meter out, and boiled it naked in the water, as I 
used to do, you will recollect, in Abyssinia. It 
gave 209 , equal to somewhere near 1500 feet ele- 
vation. But this will have to be calculated when 
I get home. So the instruments from the Koyal 
Geographical Society have not been of the service 
I anticipated. However, Milne has an aneroid as 
well as myself, and between the two we shall come 
quite near enough to the truth. 

Before we started, the Beduins who accompanied 
Milne up the mountain yesterday came for bakh- 
shish. This Abu Nabut gave them through the 
Sheikh. I know not how much; but they were 
dissatisfied, as usual, and he had to add to the 
amount. Hashim explained to me that the Sidi 
Ali ibn 'Elem, about whom I wrote yesterday, has 
his tomb or mosque about half-way between Jaffa 
and Haifa. 

We started at 8.15 a.m., and kept ascending 
Wady Ithem in a general north-easterly direc- 


tion. On the way we fell in with a cannon ball, 
which, Milne Bays, weighs about fourteen pounds, 
but I think it is not so much ; and soon after a 
ball of about an inch in diameter. These are 
signs of Ibrahim Pasha's presence here in 1 840-43. 
The road all the way up the wady is practicable for 
carriages ! As we came to the top, the mountains 
seemed to fall and the valley to open, giving us a 
splendid view of Mount Shera in front, only sepa- 
rated from us by a broad sandy plain, up which, if 
I mistake not, the road to Petra proceeds, keeping 
towards the left. I cannot make the way out at 
all by the existing maps ; at all events, not by the 
one Mr. Bolton, of Stanfords, sent me out to Cairo. 
At 1 1.45 a.m. we came to the water parting be- 
tween Wady el Ithem and Wady Hesma, and pro- 
ceeding along the latter, we stopped at noon in a 
broad sandy ' plain' t It was the Sheikh who came 
to a halt, telling us that he could not take us any 
further, and that if we proceeded we should have 
to take other camels; that there were a lot of 
strange Beduins about, and a long rigmarole which 
I did not care to listen to. I have been entirely 
disappointed in to-day's journey, which I plainly 
see tends to nothing, even if I were inclined to go 
on, and this I am not. I am content with the dis- 


coveries I have made. And the best of it is, that 
the Sheikh says he has given orders to all the 
Beduins to discontinue the use of the name B£ghir 
(Mount Sinai), and to call it Jebel-e'-Nur alone. So 
that in a few years the " tradition" will be that it has 
always been known by that name, as the true * Mount 
Sinai,' by people who have never heard of Dr. Beke, 
just as it is with Harran ; and Cook's tourists will 
be sent to the " Mountain of Light " as the true 
Mount Sinai : its being so very little out of the 
way of the ordinary tourists' route to the Holy 
Land, and so absolutely free from danger, will in- 
duce numbers of them to come ; and my views will 
doubtless soon be adopted by many both at home 
and abroad. 

We should have stopped here for lunch at all 
events ; and as it was, I ordered the tents to be 
pitched for the day, and Milne will go up the 
neighbouring mountain, Jebel At&ghtagfeh, and see 
what he can see from the top. To-morrow morn- 
ing we go " bock agen." How by this road we are 
to get to Jebel Eret6wa, of which Abu Nabut spoke 
last night, I have no idea. I shall not now attempt 
to follow it up, but shall merely throw out the 
hint, leaving it for others to follow up if they like. 
After lunch Milne packed up his traps, and mount- 


ing the Sheikh's horse, went off to the mountain 
with an unpronounceable name like " Ghabaghib," 
on the way from Harran to GileacL I must not 
omit to mention that up here in this plain we 
found a large patch of decent grass, so we had the 
cloth (a prayer carpet) spread out on it, upon which 
we stretched ourselves out, and had a pique nique 
a VAnglaise. Milne felt so jolly that he said he 
had no inclination to move afterwards. 

When he was gone I occupied myself reading 
over his geological notes of yesterday. One remark 
is very striking. He says that the granite rock is 
wearing away in spheroidal flakes, making caves and 
hollows in it ; one he saw would hold twenty per- 
sons. In places the side of the mountain is quite 
pitted with holes. I do not know whether Mount 
Tor has any of these caves; but the Scripture 
History requires one, both in the case of Moses and 
in that of Elijah. For in Exodus xxxiii. 20-23, we 
read, " And he said, Thou canst not see my face : 
for there shall no man see me and live. And the 
' Eternal ' said, Behold, there is a place by me, and 
thou shalt stand upon a rock : and it shall come to 
pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put 
thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee 
with my hand while I pass by :" And in 1 Kings 


xix. 8, 9 : " And he arose, and did eat and drink, 
and went in the strength of that meat forty days 
and forty nights unto Horeb, the Mount of God. 
And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged 

I cannot make out the country where we are at 
all. Before us, north-east-by-east, is a white (lime- 
stone) mountain called Jebel Hesma, and beyond 
that is Jebel Shera. Sheikh Mohammed says we 
are here half way to Petra; but Abu Nabut says 
we are not yet so far : a low hill to the left of Jebel 
Hesma — also seen from hence — is, he says, half 
way. I hope Milne will come down with some de- 
finite information. One thing is clear, and that is 
that Burckhardt has given the name of Jebel Shera 
to what is, in fact, Jebel Shafeh. This will be 
seen from the following description which he gives 
of this part of the country at p. 435 of his "Syria 
and Holy Land." On leaving Ma'an he says : — 

" We turned to the S.E., and in half an hour from 
the Djeylat, passed the fine spring called El Szadeke, 
near which is a hill with extensive ruins of an 
ancient town. From thence we descended by a slight 
declivity into the eastern plain, . . . the same im- 
mense plain which we had entered in coming from 
Beszeyra, on the eastern borders of the Ghoeyr, 

2 D 


here presented itself to our view. We were about 
six hours south of Maan, whose two hills, upon 
which the two divisions of the town axe situated, 
were distinctly visible. . . . About eight hours 
south of Maan, a branch of the Shera extends for 
three or four hours in an eastern direction across 
the plain ; it is a low hilly chain. The mountains 
of Shera are considerably elevated above the level 
of the Ghor, but they appear only as low hills when 
seen from the eastern plain, which is upon a much 

higher level than the Ghor. . . . This plain termi- 


nates to the south near Akaba, on the Syrian Hadj 
route, by a steep rocky descent, at the bottom of 
which begins the Desert of Nedjed, covered, for the 
greater part, with flints. 

(p. 436.) " It might with truth be called Petrcea, 
not only on account of its rocky mountains, but 
also of the elevated plain already described, which 
is so much covered with stones, especially flints, 
that it may with great propriety be called a stony 
desert, although susceptible of culture. In many 
places it is overgrown with wild herbs, and must 
once have been thickly inhabited, for the traces of 
many ruined towns and villages are met with on 
both sides of the Hadj road between Maan and 
Akaba, as well as between Maan and the plains of 

MA' AN. 419 

Haouran, in which direction are also many springs. 
At present all this country is a desert, and Maan 
is the only inhabited place in it. All the castles 
on the Syrian Hadj route from Fedhein to Medina 
are deserted. At Maan are several springs, to 
which the town owes its origin ; and these, to- 
gether with the circumstance of its being a station 
of the Syrian Hadj, are the cause of its still exist- 
ing. The inhabitants have scarcely any other 
means of subsistence than the profits which they 
gain from the pilgrims in their way to and from 
Mekka, by buying up all kinds of provisions at 
Hebron and Ghaza, and selling them with great 
profit to the weary pilgrims, to whom the gardens 
and vineyards of Maan are no less agreeable than 
the wild herbs collected by the people of Maan are 
to their camels. The pomegranates, apricots, and 
peaches of Maan are of the finest quality. . . . 
(p. 437.) Maan is situated in the midst of a 
rocky country, not capable of cultivation ; the 
inhabitants therefore depend upon their neighbours 
of Djebal and Shera for their provision of wheat 
and barley." 

Palgraves "Arabia"gives the following account : — 

" Ma 1 an, 30 20' N. 35 50' E. — Before and around 

us extended a wide and level plain, blackened 


over with countless pebbles of basalt and flint, 
[obsidian ?] except where the moonbeams gleamed 
white on little intervening patches of clear sand, 
or on yellowish streaks of withered grass, the 
scanty product of the winter rains and snow dried 
into hay. 

" Wokba Wells, 30 15' N. 36 15' E.— The blue 
range of Sheraa' [bounding the Ghor] was yet visible 
[behind], though fast sinking in the distance, while 
before us and on either hand extended one weary 
plain in a black monotony of lifelessness. Only 
on all sides lakes of mirage lay mocking the eye 
with their clear and deceptive outline, whilst here 
and there some dark basaltic rock, cropping up at 
random through the level, was magnified by the 
refraction of the heated atmosphere into the sem- 
blance of a fantastic crag or overhanging moun- 

Volney, writing at a much earlier period on the 
same subject, says : — 

" Ce pays n'a 6t6 visits par aucun voyageur ; 
cependant il mdriterait de T&tre ; car d'apr&s ce que 
j'ai oui dire aux Arabes [du Chaik] de Bdkir, et 
aux gens de Gaze qui vont h, Mdan et au Karak 
sur la route des pterins, il y a au sud-est du lac 
Asphaltide, dans une espace de trois journ^es, 


plus de trente villes ruin^es, absolument d&ertes. 
Plusieurs d'entre elles ont de grands Edifices, avec 
des colonnes qui ont pu Stre des temples anciens, 
ou tout au moins des ^glises Grecques. Les Arabes 
s'en servent quelquefois pour parquer leurs trou- 
peaux ; mais le plus souvent ils les dvitent, h, cause 
des &iormes scorpions qui y abondent. L'on ne doit 
pas s'^tonner de ces traces de population, si Ton se 
rappelle que ce. fut-lk le pays de ces NabatheSns 
qui furent les plus puissants des Arabes ; et des 
Idumdens qui, dans le dernier sifccle de Jerusalem, 
dtaient presqu'aussi nombreux que les Juifs ; tdmoin 
le trait cit6 par Josephe, qui dit qu'au bruit de la 
marche de Titus contrc Jerusalem, il s'assembla 
tout d'un coup trente mille Idumdens qui se jetdrent 
dans la ville pour la d^fendre." * 

Speaking of the peninsula, he adds — " Ce grand 
espace est presque tout occupd par des montagnes 
arides qui du c6t6 du nord, se joignent h, celles de la 
Syrie, et sont comme elles de roche calcaire. Mais 
en s'avanjant au midi, elles deviennent graniteuses, 
au point que le Sinai et l'Horeb ne sont que 
d'enormes pics de cette pierre. C'est k ce titre 
que les anciens appel^rent cette contrde Arable 
pierreuse." 2 

1 Volney's "Voyage en Syrie et en Egypt,* vol. ii. pp. 317, 318. 
(Paris, 1787). a Ibid., pp. 320, 321. 


I must try and put all this right for my map, as 
the existing maps appear all wrong. 

Milne returned about half-past four o'clock from 
his ascent of Jebel At&ghtagfeh, having done nothing 
of consequence, except to decide positively that 
there are no volcanoes or lava fields visible. So 
that " Mount Sinai is not a volcano. " I can with 
a very easy conscience retract what I have said, 
which is, after all, simply matter of opinion. The 
matter oi fact remains the same. We have the 
" Mountain of Light" nearly in the position which 
I gave to " Mount Sinai " forty years ago ! And 
on this I can hold my ground very well. I am not 
ashamed to make a clean breast of it. Abu Nabut 
came into my tent to tell me I should " tankey God " 
for having let me find Jebel-e'-Nur on the first day 
from Akaba, and for thus having been saved four 
or five days wandering to no purpose. What he 
says is true enough, and yet I should like to make 
quite sure that there are really no volcanoes here- 
abouts. From the geological features of the country 
Milne can see no traces of anything of the sort ; 
but volcanic regions are anomalous, and may be 
lighted on in an unexpected manner. 

In the evening I copied out Milne's notes of his 
visit to Jebel-e'-Ntir, which I have entered in my 


To face /. 433. 


route book. His original drawings of the inscriptions 
found near the summit I send herewith. They are of 
no more reed value, I expect, than the other " Sinaitic 
Inscriptions," but they are just as good, and there is 
no reason why they should not be published. The 
lines are about three-quarters of an inch broad, and 
very shallow, perhaps not more than one-eighth of 
an inch, engraven on rounded boulders of granite, 
of the material of the mountain, standing up against 
each other, three facing to the north, and one to 
the south (at the back). 1 

February 2. — It rained all night, and continues 
to do so this morning. We cannot move. Happy 
are we to be in a good water-tight tent. 

1 Mr. Holland tells me that Professor Palmer considers them to 
be tribe-marks. Writing of Wady Muweilih ("Desert of the 
Exodus," pp. 354, 355), the Professor observes — " These caves are also 
covered with the Arab tribe-marks which I have before described, 
each Bedawi visitor to the place delighting to set his sign-manual on 
the wall. M. de Saulcy (and, following him, many subsequent writers), 
who had noticed them in the neighbourhood of the Dead Sea, calls 
them c Planetary signs' (see Dr. Tristram's " Land of Israel," p. 310), 
and in truth they are not altogether unlike the mysterious astrological 
emblems on the coloured bottles which adorn a chemist's window. 

"These tribe-marks consist in reality of distorted Hi myari tic letters, 
generally the initial letter of the name ; thus, the mark of the 'Anazeh 
tribe is Q 9 a circle with a dot in the centre, the ancient Himyaritic 

letter, 'Ain, with which the word 'Anazeh begins. The Arabs 
themselves, being ignorant of writing, are of course unaware of this 
fact ; they consequently designate their tribe-mark by the name of 
the article it may chance to resemble, ed dabbtis, ' the club,' d bdb, 
* the door/ and so on." 


I have been occupied in collecting all sorts of in- 
formation from the Sheikh and Abu Nabut. They 
tell me this road has been taken by many travel- 
lers ; but none of them would seem to have taken 
any particular notice of Mount Bdghir, apparently 
for the reason given by Abu Nabut, that " it was 
not noticed in their guide-books." Sidi Ali ibn 
'Elem came here to pray because he was sent here 
by God ! This is the answer given me when I ask 
how he came to this particular spot. For the tra- 
dition hanging about it I can find no reason given, 
except that there is a light at times seen on the 
summit, and that noises like those of a cannon are 
heard when the Hadj returns from Mecca I Those 
who, like Deans Milman and Stanley, attribute the 
appearances on Mount Sinai to a severe thunder- 
storm — and nothing else — do not appear to have 
taken into consideration the heavy rain which 
would have accompanied it, and soaked the poor 
Israelites to the skin, unless they had good tents, 
which I doubt their having carried away with 
them in their flight from Mitzraim. 

When Sheikh Mohammed had given me the 
information I required, he asked me for some more 
tobacco. I demurred a little, having twice given him 
some, which Abu Nabut said he had given to the 


other Arabs ; and he suggested to the Sheikh that 
in future he should keep what I gave him for him- 
self; to which the other replied that if he did not 
divide what he had with the others of the tribe, he 
would not long be Sheikh I On the road yester- 
day, Milne made a drawing of Mount Bdghir, 
which he has finished this morning. I do not like 
it much ; but I wished him to finish it at once as 
I said we must absolutely have a representation 
of "Mount Sinai." My own little pen-and-ink 
sketch of the east spur will come in very well 
in addition. Towards noon it seemed to be 
clearing up, and we saw snow on the moun- 
tains; but it still kept overcast with occasional 
showers, so that there is no chance of our moving 

Sheikh Mohammed ibn Ij£t — that is his right 
name I find — was, on Abu Nabut's suggestion, 
invited by me to lunch with (or rather after) 
us. We had some tea with our lunch to keep \is 
warm, for it is bitterly cold, and afterwards the 
teapot was filled with water for our guest ! We 
were at dessert when he came in. I at once offered 
him a cup of tea which I poured out, Abu Nabut fill- 
ing the cup half full with sugar ; and he had then a 
dish of baccalhdo or dried fish, stewed with plenty 


of sauces, set before him with a loaf of bread. He 
began to eat very decently with a spoon, but soon 
set to work with his fingers, and made a good 
hearty meal, taking care to make plenty of noise 
in eating to show his gentility, and after he had 
finished he did not fail to say, " Istaghfar Allah/' 
which appears to be the correct expression, and 
not " bismillah." He had managed to suck his 
fingers as well as he could. Hashim ought to 
have brought him water, but as he did not, as he 
was drawing away from the table, our guest gave a 
clutch at the end of the tablecloth, and used it as a 
finger-napkin. His tea he left to the last, except 
some dates and an orange, hx the course of con- 
versation he let us know that he is not in the habit 
of accompanying strangers, but usually sends one 
of his under-Sheikhs. But as we came in the 
steamer, and were specially recommended to 
his care by the Khddive, it was only proper 
that he should escort us in person; for all of 
which we duly thanked him, and then he took 
his leave. 

He, the Sheikh of the Aluwfn, has a fine old Per- 
sian (Ajdmi) sword, which bears the date 118. If 
this is of the Hegira, it means that it is 1 1 74 years 
old ! ! But perhaps the date may be of some other 


era. It has inscribed on it the names " Allah, 
Mohammed, Abubekr, and Ali " — Omar, the second 
Khalif, is omitted. With respect to Mohammed 
ibn Ij&t, and to Beduins generally, I may here tell 
you what Professor Palmer says on the subject in 
his "Desert of the Exodus," p. 297 : — 

" I cannot expect respectable and taxpaying 
Englishmen to enter with much appreciation into 
the Bedawfn question, and I know the prejudice 
that exists, in this country particularly, against the 
extinction of a romantic [whence the romance ?] and 
interesting race. The sympathy already wasted on 
the Red man of North America [false sentiment] 
warns me that I am treading on delicate ground, but 
I must nevertheless state my belief that the noble 
savage [a savage race is to mankind what the savage 
member of society is to society] is a simple and 
unmitigated nuisance. To the Bedawi this ap- 
plies even more forcibly still, for, wherever he goes, 
he brings with him ruin, violence, and neglect. 
To call him a € son of the desert * is a misnomer ; 
half the desert owes its existence to him, and many 
a fertile plain from which he has driven its useful 
and industrious inhabitants becomes in his hands, 
like the ' South Country/ a parched and barren 


" Several plans have been tried from time to 
time to make him a respectable member of society, 
but have signally failed ; — missionaries have gone to 
him, and, so long as they could supply him with 
tobacco and keep open tent for all comers, have 
found him sufficiently tractable. But they have made 
absolutely no impression upon him after all. The 
Turkish Government once devised a creditable and 
brilliant scheme, namely, to fill up all the wells in 
the desert round Palmyra; for a time this kept 
him out of Syria, and sent him to worry some one 
else ; and so far it answered its purpose. But the 
Pasha entrusted with the execution of the order 
planted tamarisk bushes to mark the spots where 
the water lay, and received a good sum from the 
'Anazeh Arabs for the information which enabled 
them to recover it. 

" Eishid Pasha, one of the most energetic and 
enlightened officials the Ottoman Empire has ever 
produced, came near to solving the problem. 
Shortly after we left the Tfh, he sent word down to 
Gaza that the Bedawfn of those parts must for the 
future live in huts instead of tents ; our friends 
were acute enough to see that this was a deadly 
blow aimed at their very existence, and the first 
fifteen Turkish soldiers who appeared amongst the 


Tey&hah were killed. A detachnlent of troops was 
sent down, and all the flocks and herds were con- 
fiscated, brought to Jerusalem, and sold for a 
nominal value to the Fellahf n. The Bedawf n sought 
and obtained the protection of the Viceroy of 
Egypt, and thus the far-seeing policy of th& 
Governor-General of Syria was thwarted. 

" If the Governments of Egypt, Turkey, and 
Arabia would but act in concert, and consult the 
real interests of their subjects, this terrible scourge 
might be removed, and the Fellahfn relieved from 
the constant dread of rapine, and freed from the 
sic vos non vobis misgivings with which they now 
till their ground. They would then become a 
more contented and honest people. 

"I do not advocate a war of extermination 
against the Bedawfn, because I do not think it 
policy to destroy so much muscle which might be 
made serviceable to the community, and I have 
still, even in the days of mitrailleuses, some old- 
fashioned notions about the sacredness of human 
life, but I would put an end to their existence 
qud Bedawin. The Bedawf regards the Fell&h 
with unutterable scorn. He has a constitutional 
dislike to work, and is entirely unscrupulous as to 
the means he employs to live without it; these 


qualities (which also adorn and make the thief and 
burglar of civilisation) he mistakes for evidences 
of thorough-breeding, and prides himself accord- 
ingly upon being one of Nature's gentlemen. [And 
we encourage him !] 

- " Camels and sheep are, as I have before said, 
the Bedawf 8 only means of subsistence, and so 
long, then, as he lives his present unsettled life, 
and can support himself with the milk which they 
produce, he is independent of all occupation save 
plundering. The effect of this is, that the soil he 
owns deteriorates, and his neighbours are either 
driven away or reduced to beggary by his raids 
and depredations. If the military authorities were 
to make systematic expeditions against these tribes, 
and take from them every camel and sheep which 
they possess, they would no longer be able to roam 
over the deserts, but would be compelled to settle 
down to agricultural pursuits or starve." [They 
would prefer this almost.] 

"The superior advantages which the peaceful 
agriculturist would then possess over them would 
curb their unreasonable pride, and the necessity 
for keeping pace with him, if they wished to live at 
all, would bring out the resources of their undoubt- 
edly keen intellects [" Eutopic ! "]. They might 


thus be tamed and turned into useful members of 
the community. Such a plan would probably 
entail some hardships and injustice at first, but a 
virulent disease requires a strong remedy, and we 
must not wince at the application of the cautery to 
cure the plague. 

' Ov 7T/0O9 iarpou <ro<f>ov 

Opqveiv €7r<p8a<; irpbs roy&vri iryfiari' 

— Sophocles, Aj. v. 579." 

In connection with this important subject Colonel 
J. C. Gawler wrote a very interesting "Letter to 
Sir Moses Montefiore," which contained much valu- 
able information ; l and as this question, as affecting 
so seriously Syria and Palestine, cannot fail to call 
for grave consideration and for some adjustment 
before long, let us hope that a brighter future is 
yet in store for the Holy Land. 

But to return to the subject of my journey. I 
am so cold that I can scarcely hold my pen. Milne 
has been shading my sketch of the mountain, and 
has spoilt it, I tell him ; but, in fact, he has im- 
proved and secured it. It makes a very pretty 
picture, I think. This afternoon, as Abu Nabut 
was sitting outside over a fire with the Sheikh of 

1 This " Letter " was read at a meeting of the Board, held at the 
Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue Vestry Chambers, Bevis Marks, 
and printed by Werteimer, Lea, <fe Co., 1874. 


the Towara Arabs, who has supplied our camels, 
he made the amende honorable to me. He 
told me of his contract with the Sheikh, which 
was, that he should find the camels for the 
journey to Akaba, and that then I was to go 
excursions from thence into the neighbourhood, 
returning at night to Akaba. I told him how 
absurd this was, as in the contract it is expressly 
stated that he was to take me as far as Jebel-e'- 
Nur and Marghara Sho'eib, and that if I had not 
happened to go to Madian (Midian) in the steamer, 
I might have required him to take me as far as 
Marghara Sho'eib. He admitted this, and said he 
had no thought of bringing the matter before the 
Consul, but would be satisfied with whatever I said 
and did. All he desired was to give me satisfac- 
tion, and to obtain a testimonial from me, which 
would let the world know that he is not dead, but 
that he is the same Abu Nabut who accompanied 
Lepsius on his travels, &C. 1 So all this is settled 
in the most amicable way possible. 

1 In substantiation of Abu Nabut's assertion, I may quote the 
following from Professor Lepsius's " Letters from Egypt," p. 232 : — 

" We have now a servant from Derr, the capital of Lower Nubia, 
who speaks tolerably good Italian, is animated and intelligent, and 
is a great assistance to me in acquiring a knowledge of his own 
dialect, the Mahass. I have sometimes tormented him with ques- 
tions in the boat for five or six entire hours in one day, for it is no 

MO UNT SIN A /. 433 

February 3. — It did not rain when we retired to 
rest last night, and I was in hopes it would be fine, 
as the " glass " is rising a little ; but in the morn- 
ing before daylight it began to rain again most 
heavily. This is dreadfully annoying and distress- 
ing to me, as the delay is so important. At the 
same time there is this consolation, that it con- 
vinces me more and more that the Scripture 
account of the Delivery of the Law does not de- 
scribe a mere thunderstorm. The Israelites with- 
out tents could never have withstood it. It is now 
nine o'clock, and we cannot start yet. It is very 
unfortunate, for I want to be down on the Red Sea 
(at Akaba) on the twenty-first day of the moon, 
Friday or Saturday next, in order to witness the 
phenomena corresponding to those of the passage 
of the Israelites through the sea. I am now afraid 
I shall not be there in time. Thus one is the slave 
of circumstances ; or rather, we cannot control 
events, which are at the disposal of One above us. 

small trouble for both of us to understand each other about gram- 
matical forms and inflections. He has, at any rate, at the same time 
acquired more respect for his own language, here everywhere con- 
sidered bad and inferior to the Arabie, and which it ia thought one 
ought rather to be ashamed of." 

And on page 241, when alluding to the " Wadi Nuba" of the maps, 
he says — "Neither our Nubian servant, Alime<l, a native of the dis- 
trict of Derr, nor any of the people who are settled in the country, 
are acquainted with this name." 

2 K 


All that I now long for is, that I may get down to 
the Red Sea in time. 

Seeing there was little chance of its being fine, 
we made up our minds at eleven o'clock to start. 
So we had a hurried lunch, loaded the camels, and 
were off in the rain. My takhterawdn had its cot- 
ton and then its oilcloth cover put on ; but as the 
rain came principally in my face, I had to put up my 
umbrella, and wrap up my legs in my railway rug. 
My overcoat I had already put on, so that I man- 
aged pretty comfortably, though it was miserably 
cold. Before starting, Sheikh Mohammed ibn Ijdt 
remarked, that whenever he was asked who disco- 
vered Jebel-e'-Nur he would answer " Hakim Beke." 

When we started we were among the clouds, 
which we got in part clear of as we descended. 
Approaching Jebel-e'-Nur — or, as I shall now call 
it, "Mount Sinai" — it stood out majestically be- 
fore us, but with at least half its height enveloped 
in, and hidden from us by clouds. The views of 
this mountain are far more imposing than those of 
the " traditional Mount Sinai." It stands out quite 
distinctly, and might have been viewed all round 
by the Israelites encamped at its base — that is to 
say, towards this side, from which they must have 
approached it coming from the south. 


It was only just 2 p.m. when the Sheikh came to 
propose that we should stop and encamp. We were 
far from as low down as we were on January 3 1 ; 
but he said that it was a good sandy spot, where 
we should be dry, and this we should not be at the 
lower station. So at 2.15 p.m. we stopped. It had 
cleared up a little on the road, though I can hardly 
say we were free from a thick mist ; but scarcely 
were the tents pitched when it began raining again. 
We have descended about two hundred* and fifty 
feet from the last station. On opening my port- 
manteau, I found the water had entered it, owing 
to its having been loaded bottom upwards on 
the camel. I have told Hashim to look to this in 

There is not much we can do here to-day ; but 
I am thankful we are so much nearer the head of 
the Gulf of Akaba. I am assured by the Sheikh 
that we shall be there to-morrow ; but I doubt it. 
I must remain at the head of the Gulf till the time 
of the moon corresponding to that of the passage 
of the Israelites. It will make an important feature 
of my narrative, as being a matter of fact. If I 
were to leave beforehand, it would be matter of 
speculation and opinion, whereas by remaining I 
shall have facts to narrate. 


Feb) % uary 4. — Better weather this morning, 
though it is very cloudy and threatening. Last 
night I had a long talk with Milne about the re- 
sults of my journey. He does not at all like our 
returning without a volcano. I say that the volcano, 
though almost a vital object with me, is in truth 
but of secondary importance. My desire is to in- 
terpret the Scripture History truly. I believed I 
should find a volcano where I placed Mount Sinai. 
I find the " Mountain of Light," but no volcano. 
I am therefore bound to confess that I was in 
error as regards the physical character of Mount 
Sinai, and that the appearances mentioned in 
Scripture were as little volcanic as they were tem- 
pestuous. Milne, who looks at the matter in a purely 
scientific point of view, says he would find a vol- 
cano first, and then endeavour to see if the Scrip- 
ture History could be fitted into it. But this I 
cannot do. Even at the cost of the total prostration 
of mind I must believe in the Scripture History, and 
dare not twist it to suit my own views. I am like 
the Roman Catholic : I must not allow reason to 
interfere with my belief. The result however is, 
that to satisfy my companion — and I cannot deny 
some doubts of my own still — I have decided on 
going a little way up Wady Amran to-day, and 


sending Milne alone to the top of it, to see what 
he can see in that direction. 

To-morrow, please God, we will go down to 
Akaba. Accordingly, we started at 8. 15 a.m., and 
at nine o'clock we passed our encampment of 
January 31st. Soon after this we saw one of our 
Beduins fetch water out of a rock I We were 
passing under the east end of Mount B&ghir, when 
I saw a man carrying a zemzemiyeh and a tin can 
ascend the mountain, stepping from stone to stone 
till he came to an immense mass of rock as big as 
a house, unto the top of which he ascended, and 
then began ladling the water out with his can and 
filling his zemzemiyeh. Though we could not see 
it from below, there was evidently a hollow in the 
upper surface of the rock where the rain-water 
accumulated ; and being known to the people here, 
it serves them as a supply. 1 

At 10.30 a.m. we came to the junction of Wady 
Amran with Wady Ithem (Etham), 2 when a long 
talk took place between Abu Nabut and Sheikh 
Mohammed, accompanied with gesticulations and 
cries, in which half a dozen others joined ; the up- 
shot being that the Sheikh wanted to be paid more. 
We were now going into the country of another 

1 Exod. xvii. 6. * Exod. xiii. 20. 


tribe, and they wanted coffee, tobacco, and money, 
and Abu Nabut had none of them ; and a deal 
more. When I was appealed to, I said that all I 
wanted was to be taken up Wady Amran, in 
accordance with the Khedive's finnan. If the 
Sheikh refused to take me, I should return to Misr 
and tell the Khddive. I had nothing more to say. 
So, after some more quarrelling between the two, 
we went on, and in an hour came to a halt. 

It was now a question as to my intention. Did 
I mean to go further up the valley to-morrow ? If 
so, they must send down to Akaba for rice and 
other supplies. I answered, " No : " but that after 
luncheon Mr. Milne would go up the valley, and 
look at the rocks, &c, and to-morrow, please God, 
we would all go down to Akaba. This arrangement 
gave general satisfaction, and at half-past twelve 
Milne went off on foot with one Beduin. Hashim 
caught cold yesterday (I don't wonder at it) and is 
unable to go. The Sheikh was most amiable. He 
said he was ready to do everything out of respect 
for me ; but, when it came to the scratch, he would 
do nothing. He says that he is not now the Sheikh, 
but my servant, and a great deal more — the Jin mot 
being that he wanted some tobacco. I gave him 
two packets ; and as Milne's guide, a worthy old 


fellow, who accompanied him 011 all his excursions, 
is always begging for tobacco, I gave him a packet 
" on the quiet " to give to the old man on the road. 
It is surprising how I bear all this knocking about 
and rough weather ; for I am, thank God, pretty 
well. The other day, as I was hammering at some 
stones, I hurt my finger, but I strapped it up im- 
mediately with some of Mr. Maw's sticking-plaster, 
and it is all right again. 

3.30 p.m. — Milne returned much sooner than we 
either of us expected. He seems to have come to 
the end of the granite, where the sandstone begins, 
but has seen no signs of any volcanoes. Therefore 
" Mount Sinai a volcano" must be given up. Whilst 
out, he heard two guns fired. They must have been 
from the Amrani Beduins, in whose country we now 
are, and whose fires we saw on the mountains on 
our right hand as we came along the valley. 

The dispute between Abu Nabut and Sheikh 
Mohammed was about the claim the Amrani will, 
or may, make for our being on their ground, and 
the end of it was that Abu Nabut agreed to pay 
thirteen dollars (five-franc pieces) for one day. 
We have not seen any of them yet, but they will 
come down, no doubt. Our Beduins will keep watch 
to-night for fear of accidents. I shall now be glad 


to get away from these parts and down to Akaba 
As far as the result of my journey is concerned, I 
must be satisfied with the discovery of Jebd-e-Nur 
as the true " Mount Sinai," just where I originally 
considered it must be situated, east of the Gulf of 
Akaba. 1 The volcanic theory I must abandon. But 
I trust I have done enough to satisfy the world 
generally, and the subscribers to my expedition in 

The Harra Badjl& of Yakut must be much further 
to the east. Perhaps the volcanoes seen by Irby 
and Mangles belong to it ; but that is no longer my 
affair. The American Palestine Exploration Fund 
Expedition will in due course of time attend to this. 
My work is nearly done. I cannot but feel regret 
at not finding all my views to be confirmed, but I 
must be thankful indeed to find that I am right as 
far as the main point is concerned. 

I must tell you that all the Sheikhs wear red gar- 
ments, which are given to them by the Khedive, both 
the Aluwfn and our Tow&ra, in whose hands I hope to 
be to-morrow. These are a very decent lot, on account 
of their immediate proximity to Egypt, and from 
their having during so many generations had the 

1 See "Origines Biblicae," pp. 194, 195, London, 1834; and 
4 * Mount Sinai a Volcano," p. 44. 


charge of pilgrims and tourists visiting the tradi- 
tional Mount Sinai (Mount Tor), and the road be- 
tween Suez and Akaba being in their country. As 
I expected, two of the Amrani Beduins have come 
into our camp. Sheikh Mohammed has told them 
that we are on a visit to his country under his escort 
and protection, and that en passant we just wished 
to have a look up their valley. I hear that out of 
twelve of his own party he has sent eight away, so 
that they are now only four. This I imagine he 
has done in order that his visit might not have a 
hostile appearance. Our new friends have heard 
that I wish to go to Maghara Sho'eib and Madian, 
and as these places are within their country, they 
are prepared to accommodate me ; but when Abu 
Nabut told them I had already been there, they 
would not believe it. 

February 5. — A lovely morning, but very cold : 
the thermometer at 7 a.m. stood at 38 5' — six de- 
grees and a half above freezing. We had no more 
than the two Amrani in camp, but our Towaras 
kept watch all night, as they said they weuld. On 
the way yesterday we met an old woman, who 
wanted to know what we did on her " premises," the 
ground that Allah had given her and her people ; 
but we managed to satisfy her. We started at 8. 1 5 


a.m., and about nine o'clock the saddle of my hind 
camel began to give way ; so I had to get out of the 
taJchterawdn to have it put in order. I fancy they 
have changed the camel. As the camels walk their 
leaders and drivers cry out " Hottbi," which means 
" lift up your feet," or, " take care ; " and they urge 
them on by crying out, " Hait, hait I arr-rig ! " 

At 9.20 we came to the junction of Wady I them, 
where we saw Jebel Bighir, that is, " Mount Sinai," 
right in front of us. This immense mountain is 
seen in all directions. Just below the junction we 
came on a large stone covered with a long Cufic in- 
scription. Our cook's camel having strayed a little 
out of the way while he was walking on foot, 
he went after it close to the rock, when he saw this 
stone and told Milne of it. Milne sent to tell me, 
but I, having no idea of anything of the sort, ima- 
gined that it meant he had been writing or drawing 
something. So I called out to him to ask if he 
wanted me, and on his replying " No," which he 
did under the supposition that I did not care to 
stop, I went on. But soon after learning what the 
fact really was, I turned back, and asked Milne to 
make a sketch of it, which he did. I dismounted 
and examined the inscription, but could -make 
nothing of it. I should have had difficulty in doing 



so, even had I known the character, the letters I 

being very slightly incised, and they are in part 
covered over with some other characters, which are 


perhaps intended for rude Cufic. These being of / 

later date, are of lighter colour than the original 

inscription, which itself, again, is lighter than the 

stone. The inscription is on the west or front side 

of the stone, which is also written on, on the south 

side. The stone stands on the right-hand side 

(east) of the Wady, just below the junction. As 

this is on a now frequented road to Petra, it is 

strange that it should never have been noticed 

before. Abu Nabut has passed it no less than 

fifteen times with European travellers, and Hashim 

twice. We too, did not see it as we went up to 

" Mount Sinai," and had it not been for Ibrahim's 

camel straying, it is pretty certain we should have 

missed it the second time. As it happens, the 

stone, if not the inscription, is now secured. I am 

told of another stone on the other side of the Wady, 

a little lower down, but it was not till after we had 

gone by it, and I did not care to return a second 


At 11.45 we passed the wall across the Wady, 
which is not so high as I thought, being only seven 
feet; but the parts nearest to the mountain are 


higher. We came down to Akaba more quickly 
than we went up, reaching a very nice spot at a 
little distance north of Akaba at 2.15 p.m. We 
encamped in the midst of a date grove close to the 
sea, and not far from the head of the gulf. 

My first task was to go down to the sea to see 
how the tide was. From 2.30 to 3.30 it seemed at 
a stand-still — low water; but when I went down 
at four o'clock, it had been rising. I marked low 
water with some stones, and I shall watch high 
water tonight. There seems to be very little tide, 
and if I can make it out to-day and to-morrow 
morning, I think of starting for Suez to-morrow. 
The palms here grow most luxuriantly, and as I 
said when I was here before, fresh water is found 
a foot deep close to the sea. This shows there is 
a powerful watercourse here like as at Zulla, in 
Annesley Bay, namely, the united wadies Ithem 
and Amran. 

Our tents were hardly pitched when the Muhafiz 
and his officers came to welcome us and to hear 
the news. We told them all about our discovery of 
" Mount Sinai," the inscriptions, and so on, to their 
great surprise and gratification. I had coffee served, 
of course, and while they were drinking it, Sheikh 
Mohammed came in, and walking to the upper part 


of the tent, sat down on Mr. Milne's portmanteau, 
there being no room elsewhere, for he did not dare 
to sit upon our beds above us, and the lower places 
were all already taken. His son came in too, and 
squatted on my portmanteau. Abu Nabut and the 
Sheikh of the Towara stood at the door ; and then 
commenced a solemn Kalam about the " almighty 
dollar." They talked so hard and fast that I 
thought it time to interfere, and to say that this 
being no business of mine, it ought not to take 
place in my tent. Whereupon they went out to 
finish their talk. It is five o'clock, however, and 
they have not done yet — the end of it being that 
Abu Nabut came to me to beg as a favour that I 
would give him more money. I gave him ten 
Napoleons, and, with two pounds' worth of small 
money, I made up ten pounds, which he accepted 
most thankfully, as he said he found himself in a 
difficulty with this extra charge — for which he 
ought to have provided. I am now cleared out. 
As he has given me no receipt for the thirty 
pounds he has had during the journey, I got him to 
acknowledge it in my companion's presence, who 
then gave me a written declaration to that effect. 

There is some question of Taiyriha and Terabin 
Arabs, through whose territories we have to pass 


before getting into that of our friends the Towaras. 
Abu Nabut tells me that he will explain all to me 
when he gets away from this place. He has been 
away making purchases for the return journey ; but 
to-morrow we do not start. I cannot make my 
observations here in less time than the whole of to- 
morrow. Indeed I ought to remain another day, 
but I shall manage not to do so. We have three 
soldiers picketed by our tents I In the evening I 
watched the tide, and found it at its highest at 9. 15 
p.m., as it seemed to me. It was about the same 
hour that the moon rose. It was a lovely night, as 
still and calm as a lake, and the glass is rising, so 
that it promises to be fair. 

February 6. — Before 4 a.m. I was up and out on 
the beach to observe the tide. I was quite alone, 
nobody being about, but I could see the soldiers 
squatting round their fire. Of course they saw me, 
but took no notice. I stayed by the sea till four 
o'clock, when it seemed to me that the tide began 
to turn. It was low water when I went out on the 
beach, and, as is always the case, there is an inter- 
val, more or less long, when the water neither rises 
nor falls. The distance between high and low water- 
marks is only six yards, and the rise and fall of the 
tide, as far as I could estimate it, does not exceed 


three or four feet. In rough weather, or at spring 
tides, the beach is covered some sixteen yards more. 
It was a most exquisite morning, the sea more still, 
if possible, than it was when I left it last night, 
with a high moon overhead and Venus shining 
brightly close to her. I wish I had the command 
of language, wouldn't I say something fine ! 

I returned to bed without disturbing Milne, 
though he says that he heard me either when 
going out or coming in ; but he does not trouble 
himself when not called on to do so. In this he is 
a perfect "soldado." This morning he is off at 8 
a.m. to visit the long- talked- of Maghara ! We 
have found it at last. I was dreadfully afraid it 
would turn out to be all talk, and that therefore I 
might appear to have made a wrong representa- 
tion in my letters to Sir Walter Trevelyan and 
to Mr. Poulett Scrope, and others. But, thank 
God, there the cave is, close to the head of the sea, 
as is stated in Exodus. 1 It will take him all the 
day to go and return. I had wanted him to help 
mef with my observations, and to take the time of 
noon from the sun ; but I must now do the best 
I can by myself. The " sun " must be taken on 
the journey, as he carries the azimuth compass 

1 Exod. xiv. 1. 


with him for use. After he was gone I tried to 
take an observation with the boiling-point thermo- 
meter, but could not do it with the Royal Geo- 
graphical Society's new-fangled apparatus. It is 
just as it was with us in Abyssinia. So I put the 
tubes and things aside, and boiled my thermo- 
meter in the water itself, as I used to do on both 
occasions when I was in Abyssinia. I did it well 
enough then, and so I have done it now ! I have 
got a day of comparative idleness before me, so I 
think I shall begin writing a letter to the " Times," 
to be sent from Suez as soon as I arrive there. 

1 1 a.m. — In the midst of my work I have left 
off to go down and look at the sea again. It is 
really marvellous. The calm is absolute, and the 
tide goes gently running down with scarcely any 
movement. The beach shelves gently out, and 
may be seen for a considerable distance under the 
clear water — every stone of the shingle being dis- 
tinctly visible. I imagine the tide can have had 
very little effect on the passage of the Israelites. 
I had entered this in my diary as the day of the 
* encampment by the Red Sea/ and the ' Passage 9 
as having taken place this very night. I think I 
have made a mistake in my calculation, and that 
to-morrow is the day. If I find myself in error 


when I get back to England, I shall only have to 
add the difference of three-quarters of an hour. 
Everything is so completely without variation one 
day from another, that it is never worth while 
wasting twenty-four hours. 

Poor Captain Sciassar had very different weather. 
It continued go rough after we left Akaba and 
started inland, that the boat could not reach 
the beach, and he had to swim off to his ship. 
After this he went only as far as the anchor- 
age behind Pharaoh's Island. "Whether he re- 
mained there a day, or continued his voyage 
on the following day, I cannot make out; but 
I fancy he went on in the course of Jauuary 
31. Anyhow he will not have more than 
reached Suez by this time with my letters. I 
have omitted to say, that on the way down 
Wady Ithem yesterday, we passed on the left side 
a rock with several round holes in it, perhaps a 
foot in diameter, and as much or more deep, with 
still more numerous smaller holes, two or three 
inches across. The story is, that in one of the 
larger holes, a Beduin of Tor (Peninsula of Pharan) 
found a jar containing gold and silver, which he 
carried away wit! 
have been made 1 


hope of finding other treasures ! Milne says that 
the holes are natural, being caused by the weather- 
ing and disintegration of the granite ; and I my- 
self saw with him one part of the rock in which 
the process was going on on a large scale. 

2.30 p.m. — I am now occupied with the tide, 
as it will soon be low water. But there is a little 
wind, and the sea is no longer so calm, though 
still it must be called quite smooth. Abu Nabut 
has got some beautiful fish caught here : some are 
a bright scarlet and others a beautiful blue, and 
both kinds are a foot long and more. There are 
none like them at Suez they say, only in this — the 
sea that the Beni Israel passed through, as they 
are already learning to say ! It will be a case of 
" Haran " in a very short time. This morning, when 
I went out to look at the tide, some large crows and 
a raven flew across my path on the left hand, and 
alighted on the shore at my right ! Is this lucky ? 

While I was down on the beach in the after- 
noon, a fellow with a gun shot one of the ravens 
on the wing, and crippled him. I did not see the 
result, but I conclude that he ran after his prey,, 
and killed the bird : more shame for him I The 
Haz Bashi came in, and was very anxious about 
Milne's keeping away so long. I do not know what 


arrangement Abu Nabut made with him, but I 
fancy, nay, I am sure, the old vagabond wanted me 
to make him a present. He talked of having him- 
self given him two pounds of candles, and as I 
happen to have brought a pound in my trunk in 
case of accidents, I got them out and gave them to 
the officer's little boy, a nice quiet little child, who 
comes always with his father, and who is dressed 
up in a Haz Bashi's uniform. What the Muhafiz 
wants of me is, that I should say a word in his 
favour with the Khedive, which I will willingly do. 
He and his officers have behaved extremely well. 
They have had long talks about Moses and Pharaoh, 
according to the Kor&n version of the story, 1 which 
I mean to make use of. When the Haz Bashi took 
leave of me, he requested that one of the soldiers 
might be sent to him immediately on Milne's 
return to inform him of it. 

It was not till six o'clock that Milne came back, 
heartily tired with a journey twice as long as he 
had anticipated. His day, he said, had been thrown 
away : there was no maghara, nothing in fact to 
see. But when I came to inquire particulars, I 
found that there is a " maghara," though he does 
not care to call it one ; but he has made a sketch 

1 Desert of the Exodus. Appendix C, p. 533. 


of it, which will be one of the most effective in my 
book 1 He has also made a sketch of Pharaoh's 
Island, with " Mount Sinai " towering beyond it, 
and appearing as if it stood directly above it, 
whereas it is on the opposite side of the sea ! But 
what is more important by far is, that he has seen 
a salt marsh at the head of the Gulf, over which 
the sea sometimes runs, with a pqssage of dry land 
between the two. Here it is that the Israelites 
passed ! 1 I must go and see this to-morrow. 
This will make us a day longer perhaps ; but this 
I must not care for. I may, in spite of myself as 
it were, be placed, on the twenty-first day of the 
moon, on the very spot from which the Passage of 
the Israelites through the Red Sea took place ! I 
feel that I am not my own master in all this. I 
plan one thing, and circumstances happen to alter 
my plans. " Man proposes, and God disposes." 

February 7. — Truly I may say this. The wind 
got up so much yesterday evening that it was 
quite useless to think of going out to observe the 
tide, as it depends so greatly on the wind that all 
results are quite arbitrary. In ordinary times the 
difference between high and low water on the 
beach is only about six yards, and the rise and 

1 Exod. xiv. 1, 21, 22. 


fall four feet. I turned in last night before nine 
o'clock, and soon fell fast asleep; but about 
ii p.m. I was awakened by the wind knocking 
the side of my tent against my bed, so I got up, 
struck a light, and moved my bed. I looked 
out, but could see nothing, it being very dark, 
and the wind blowing fearfully. I returned to 
bed, but in about half an hour, before I could 
get to sleep, Milne called out, " Look out, Doctor, 
my side of the tent has come down on me, and the 
whole will fall on you if you don't take care." 
On this I at once got up and dressed myself as 
well as I could in the dark, putting on everything 
in order to be ready for a rush. The tent still kept 
up, and as soon as I was dressed I went out, and 
called Abu Nabut. He roused all his people, and 
they soon came to the rescue. The storm was now 
worse than ever, and had they not brought 
immediate assistance, the tent would surely have 
gone over. As it was, they lashed the centre pole 
with a thick rope to a date tree close by, both at 
the top and in the middle, and strengthened the 
tent ropes by tying them all together. They did 
their work very cleverly, as we could see in the 

When the tent was righted, a lantern was 


brought into it, and by this light we packed 
up all our things as quickly as we could. Abu 
Nabut talked of taking down the tent altogether, 
but by means of ropes and extra cords we managed 
to keep it up in its place, so that after a while we 
were able to return into it and lie down. 

But in the meanwhile what a scene of confusion 
and horror — really horror it was. The wind blew 
most terrifically, and drove the sand with such vio- 
lence that we were literally smothered with it : and 
it cut so too 1 A curious fact was noticed, namely, 
that the intensity diminished the higher it was 
above the ground. When we were stooping to our 
portmanteaus it more than half blinded us, besides 
actually bruising the skin ; but when we stood up 
it was our legs that suffered instead of our faces. 

The sea was perfectly wild, coming up far above 
the ordinary limits. When I first went out to 
call Abu Nabut I witnessed a singular sight. 
The wind was blowing from the south, or south- 
west, which naturally heaped the waters up in 
our direction, so that they ran up the beach, and 
filling the hollow ground behind, left a tongue 
of dry land between the two. This, as the 
storm increased, and the waters also rose, was 
soon covered ; but when I first saw it the water 


was on both sides- of the land! How forcibly 
then and wonderfully did this portray and confirm 
the Bible narrative (Exod. xiv.). 

I had been telling Abu Nabut last night about 
this being the anniversary of the passage of the 
Israelites, and the destruction of Pharaoh ; and 
the first thing he did when he came to me was to 
remind me of what I had said ; and he has since 
constantly spoken of this as " Pharaoh's night.'* I 
believe he thinks me something wonderful, and as 
knowing things that no one else does. The effect of 
the dry sand and wind was such that my mouth 
and throat were quite parched, and I had to ask 
for some water to drink. Milne quite indepen- 
dently of me did the same. While they were 
getting our tent in order, we went and sat down 
in the other tent in the dark. Through all the 
strain put on it, our good tent did not give 
way anywhere ; but that of Abu Nabut was, how- 
ever, much torn in more than one place. 

Such a night I think I never experienced in my 
life. As the day approached the storm abated some- 
what, but it was still raging when I rose at seven 
o'clock. I felt myself quite unwell and unnerved, 
and on Abu Nabut's coming to me for instructions as 
to what was to be done, saying, that if we remained 


at Akaba, the tents must be moved into some 
sheltered place, I told him that he might pack up 
and be off at once, as I did not intend to remain a 
moment longer. Nothing could be observed in 
such weather, and therefore I had no object in re- 
maining ; besides, I had to .consider Milne, who 
wanted to be back in England by a certain time. 
Nabut was only too glad to be off, and set to work 
instantly to strike the tents. 

Now came the leave-taking. The old man 
who has accompanied Milne on his excursions 
wanted to be paid, as was only right ; but 
Abu Nabut had left me without money, so I 
emptied my purse, containing some five shillings, 
into the corner of the old fellow s cloak. He 
was not satisfied, but had to be, for I could give 
him no more. Then came Sheikh Mohammed, 
who begged me, when I saw the Khedive — Effen- 
dina — to say that he kissed his feet, and had only 
been too happy to obey his commands in attending 
to me. For His Highness's sake he had allowed 
the Tow&ra with their camels to come into his 
country ; only, in future, he would suggest in the 
most delicate way in the world that the Tow&ra 
should bring strangers to Akaba only, and that 
from thence the Aluwfn should have the supply of 


these amiable creatures. This latter part was in- 
tended for the British Consul, to whom he sent his 
salams. As for me, he said he was delighted to 
have known me, and to have been of use to me in 
discovering " Mount Sinai." And so, after shak- 
ing hands all round, and wishing me all kinds of 
good fortune, Sheikh Mohammed, with all his 
" tag-rag and bob-tail," rode away up the moun- 
tains. It was now the turn of the Muhafiz. He 
was profuse in his compliments, as I was in mine, 
of course ; and the end of it was, that he asked me 
to give him a silver watch as a remembrance of 
me, and said that if I put it in the hands of the 
Consul, it would reach him in safety ! I assured 
him that, " I wished he might get it ; '* and bo we 
parted on the most friendly terms. There was 
then a long kaldm with Abu Nabut, to the effect 
that, as I imagine, I was handed over into the safe 
keeping of the Sheikh of the Towara, who is to 
convey me to Suez and Cairo. 

Akaba might be made a large city — was one, in 
fact, in former times. Like Adulis, it is at the 
mouth of a large watercourse, so that it has 
water all the year round; and its numerous date- 
trees show how luxuriant vegetation of almost 
every kind mig 


anything may be done in these countries. I shall 
suggest this to the Khedive. Why, too, should 
not the Port of Akaba be utilised, as in the time of 
Solomon ? * 

At length, at 9.20 a.m., we were off on our way 
home. But before starting Abu Nabut showed me 
that he deserved his nickname (' the Man with a 
Stick') by giving one of our Beduins a good 
thrashing, though they soon made it up. It 
was now a fine morning, though the sea was 
still remaining very high. There was no saying 
anything about the tide. I could see that the water 
had been more than ten yards above high water- 
mark, and yet it hardly seems to be quite high 
water even now. 

On leaving Akaba we went along round the head 
of the Gulf, under some sand banks thrown up by 
the sea. Date palms and other vegetation covered 
the Arabah to some distance inland. By and by 
we came to the commencement of a salt marsh 
which extends some way up the Arabah. We first 
passed below a pool of salt water some thirty or 
forty yards from the sea ; and then another larger, 
which Milne saw yesterday, and which therefore 

1 1 Kings ix. 26. See Captain Burton's forthcoming work, " The 
Gold Mines of Midian." 


was not caused by lost night's storm; then we 
passed a third, larger still, and nearer. They all 
seem on a somewhat higher level than the sea, and 
to have formed by the water being washed over by 
wind and tide. But presently we came to a little 
stream running acroBS our path from the sea where 
the ground was lower. It now threatened to rain ; so 
I thought of wrapping myself up, and asked for my 
railway rug ; but it was missing. It was evidently 
stolen last night by one of the Beduins during the 

As we approached the western side of the head of 
the Gulf we had on our right hand a flat waste of salt 
marsh, pools of which were almost in our path, * v,n 
sand being so rotten that a stick could easily be thi 
a yard down. The rains from the mountains ; 
into this marsh, and thence find their way into 
sea. I doubt not that the whole of this marsh : 
merly formed part of the sea, which consequei 
must have extended further to the north, and 
road on which we went may then have forme< 
shallow or reef. All this may possibly affect 
passage of the Israelites. There was a salt eff 
escence on the ground here and there a little i 
from us. 

At 1 1 a.m. we reached the western side of 


sea, and began ascending the mountains. We 
appear not to have gone up any regular wady ; but 
rather to have crossed the beds of several, running 
south, our course being somewhat about north- 

At 11.45 we came to Wady el Mahaserat, 
marked in the map as Wady el Musry. The map 
appears to be altogether wrong. Up this wady 
we ascended west-north-west or so, till noon. It 
now began to rain; but we went on till 12.45, 
when we stopped to take luncheon. 

From Mr. Milne's description of his visit on the 
6th inst. to the Maghara, or Cave opposite Jesirat 
Fir'6n, and from what he there saw, en passant, 
of the limestone formations at the mouth of this 
wady, coupled with the fact of our now finding 
here several large cavernous openings, he has, you 
will see, come to the conclusion that the existence 
of "Caves" (Magharas) opposite Jesirat Fir'6n is 
most probable. Mr. Milne says : — 

" Feb. 6th. — Close to Ras el Musry [Mahaserat], 
and opposite Jesirat Fir'6n, we get headlands of 
hard stone projecting, and forming small caves. 
For the most part this is a bluish grey granitic 
rock, but there is also a reddish coarse-grained 
granite, the mica being in plates the size of a half- 


crown. Between those two places there is an ex- 
posure of a whitish limestone, about a quarter of 
a mile in length. In parts this is quite white, but 
the bulk of it is of a yellowish tinge. As it nears 
the granite rocks of Jesirat Fir'6n it slopes up- 
wards, as if forming a flank to them. These are 
very noticeable from their tilted position and their 
bright pink colour. The exposed limestone in one 
place may be at least 600 feet high, forming with 
its cliff and talus an imposing object. It varies 
considerably in texture, being in places compact 
and hard, and in others apparently earthy : these 
latter having intercalated with them several hard 
bands two or three feet thick. Part of it contains 
irregularly disseminated light yellowish flints. 

" There was no cave seen in this limestone on 
the very cursory examination I could give it, 
simply passing by at a distance probably of a 
quarter to half a mile ; but their existence is not 
improbable, from the fact that when on our journey 
from Akaba to Suez, we came to the continuation 
of the same rock, and saw in it, on the face of the 
cliff, several large cavernous openings. From their 
height above we could not reach them, and the 
whole was so shut in by other rocks that the por- 
tion visible w&s very limited. 


" The chief motive for my not paying this lime- 
stone particular attention was, that I was on my 
way to a spot which the people at Akaba described 
as a Maghara, or cave, but which in fact (if my 
guides took me to the right place), is nothing more 
than a niche formed by two overhanging granitic 
rocks opposite Jesirat Fir'6n, which, in our accepta- 
tion of the word ' cave/ can hardly be considered as 
such. About ten yards distant from it is a notice- 
able outlier, also granitic, in appearance resembling 
one of the outstanding 'needles' so common on 
the English coast. 

" February 7. — After leaving the Gulf of Akaba 
the road slopes upwards, amongst mounds of dSbris, 
right and left, and under your feet you notice 
fragments of granitic rocks, and also of limestone, 
indicative of what is to be found above. After 
about two hours travelling between much decom- 
posed granitic rocks, we came on the limestone at 
about 1000 feet elevation, and after continuing a 
short distance up the valley, with the limestone on 
our left, and granitic rocks on the right, the road 
turns suddenly to the left between high cliffs of 
limestone, where we encamped. In the right hand 
cliff (north) were the caves, already mentioned on 
the 6th instant. This limestone has all the appear- 


ances and physical qualities of the chalk of the 
South of England, from which it differs in the fact 
that it contains bands of flint stone and not of 
flints. The thickness of these bands and their dis- 
tance apart vary, but they may be taken as averag- 
ing four inches in thickness, and four feet apart. 
The strike of this limestone would indicate that it 
is continued down towards the limestone or chalk 
seen by Ras el Musry, lithologically the two being 
almost identical." 

Assuming this, and that Wady el Mahaserat 
(Musry ?) runs down from the one to the other, 
then this wady is Pi-ha-hiroth — the " Entrance to 
the Caverns " — and no doubt other caverns will be 
found along the course of the wady. 1 [February 
14, 1874. Charles Beke.] 

We were not yet at the summit of the mountain, 
but we had a magnificent view of the head of the 

1 Exodus xiv. 1. On Dr. Beke's writing to Mr. Milne (May 7, 
1874), asking him whether other caves ought not to be inserted in 
his drawing, he replied : — " The rest of the holes in that chalk cliff 
were too small to be called caves, and therefore had better be 
omitted. Bat observe that along the line of junction of the chalk 
and granite, which will be up that Wady Musry, there i9 every 
likelihood of there being more caves. The chalk rock being con- 
torted, as seen in the drawing, and water, &c, percolating through 
the contortions and breakages, is more likely to produce caves there 
than elsewhere in the solid mass. This can be dilated on. N.B. — 
That chalk is not equivalent to our chalk in age, but only so 


Gulf of Akaba, with " Mount Sinai " beyond — its 
summit being hidden by clouds. Here we may 
well suppose Pharaoh to have seen the Israelites 
encamped by the sea, as we read in Exodus xiv. 
9, 10 : — " But the Egyptians pursued after them, 
all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and all 
his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them 
encamping by the sea, beside Pi-ha-hiroth, before 
Baal-Zephon. And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the 
children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, 
the Egyptians marched after them^" 

This is an excellent carriage road all the way. 
At i . 1 5 p.m. we started again, and in less than half 
an hour crossed into Wady-el-Satkh, up which we 
went northwards crossing into another wady, 
which they still said was Wady el-Satkh. As we 
were now near the top of the pass, and they say 
there is no place to stop for some four hours more, 
we encamped here at 2.30 p.m. — a very short day 
— in the Wady el-Satkh, about half an hour they 
say below the Ras-el-Satkh, or Nagb. The road 
was a good deal improved by Abbas Pasha when 
his mother went to Mecca, and the present Pasha 
has also been at work upon it. 

Dr. Robinson gives the following description of 

AKABA. 465 

this part of his route from Akaba to Jerusalem r 1 — 
"April $ih, 1838. — Having at last made all our 
arrangements, we left the castle of 'Akabah at a 
quarter-past one o'clock p.m. , . . Our course lay- 
along the head of the gulf on the Haj road by 
which we had come yesterday. At 2.40 we reached 
the foot of the western ascent, where the hills of con- 
glomerate, which we had passed yesterday further 
south, sink down into a steep slope of gravel, 
extending far to the north. This we ascended 
about W.N.W., and at 3.25 crossed the shallow 
Wady Ehurmet el-Jurf, which runs down towards 
the right ; and then came among low hills of 
crumbled granite. Beyond these there is again an 
open gravel slope in some parts, before reaching 
the higher granite cliffs. At four o'clock we 
encamped on the side of the mountain, in a narrow 
branch of the same water-course, called Wady edh- 
Dhaiyikah. From this elevated spot we had a 
commanding view out over the gulf, the plain of 
el-'Arabah, and the mountains beyond. 

" The castle bore from this point S.E. by E. 
Behind it rose the high mountain el-Ashhab ; and 
back of this, out of sight, is el-Hismeh, a sandy 

1 "Biblical Researches in Palestine," &c, vol. i. pp. 173-175. 
London. 1867. 

2 G 


tract, surrounded by mountains. But no one of 
our guides knew this latter name as a general 
appellation for these mountains. At the south 
end of the Ashhab, the small Wady Elteit comes 
down to the sea, having in it the ruin Ktisr el- 
Bedawy, bearing from here S. 40 E. More to the 
south the hills along the eastern coast are lower, 
having the appearance of table land ; while further 
back are high mountains, and among them the 
long ridge en-Nukeirah. These extend far to the 
south, and there take the place of the lower hills 
along the coast. North of the castle the large 
Wady el-Ithm comes down steeply from the north- 
east through the mountains, forming the main 
passage from 'Akabah to the eastern desert. By 
this way doubtless the Israelites ascended from 
the Bed Sea in order to ' compass Edom,' and pass 
on to Moab and the Jordan. Wady el-Ithm now 
bore E. i° S., while a mountain further north, 
called Jebel el-Ithm bore E. 1 ° N. Then a smaller 
wady comes down named es-Sidr. To the north- 
ward of this was Jebel esh-Sha'feh, N. 70 E. ; and 
still further north our guides professed to point out 
Jebel esh-Sherfih by Wady Ghtirtindel. On this 
point, however, we had doubts. 

"Friday, April 6. — The bright morning pre- 


sented a beautiful view of the sea, shut in among 
mountains like a lake in Switzerland. The eastern 
mountains too glittered in the sun ; fine, lofty, 
jagged peaks, much higher than those we were to 
climb. We set off at six o'clock, ascending W.N. W. 
We soon reached the granite hills, and entering 
among them over a low ridge, descended a little to 
the small Wady er-Kizkah at 6.25. It flows to the 
left into the Musry, within sight a little below. 
Passing another slight ridge, we reached Wady el- 
Musry at a quarter to seven o'clock. This is a large 
wady coming down from the north obliquely along 
the slope of the mountain, and running down by 
itself to the sea, which it was said to enter just 
north of Eds el- Musry, Our route now lay up 
along this valley, winding considerably, but on a 
general courSe about north-west. The ridge upon 
the left was of yellow sandstone, resting on granite, 
while on the right was granite and porphyry. The 
scenery around was wild, desolate and gloomy; 
though less grand than we had seen already. At 
seven o'clock limestone appeared on the left ; and 
we turned short from the Musry towards the left, 
into a narrow chasm between walk of chalk with 
layers of flint. Ten minutes now brought us to 
the foot of the steep and difficult ascent ; so that 



this last ravine might well be termed the gate of 
the pass. The ascent is called simply en-Ntikb, or 
el-'Arktib, both signifying * the pass ' up a moun- 
tain ; and our guides knew no other name. The 
road rises by zigzags along the projecting point of 
a steep ridge, between two deep ravines. It is in 
part artificial ; and in some places the thin layer of 
sandstone has been cut away twenty or thirty feet 
in width down to the limestone rock. Portions of 
this work have probably been done at the expense 
of pious Mussulmans to facilitate the passage of 
the Haj. Two Arabic inscriptions on the rock, 
one of them at the top of the ascent, apparently 
record the author of the work. Near the top is 
something like a modern improvement, a new 
road having been cut lower down on the side of the 
ridge, rising by a more gradual ascent/ The whole 
road is said by Makrizi to have been first made 
by Ibn Ahmed Ibn Tulfin, Sultan of Egypt in 
a.d. 868-84. 

"We reached the top of the steep ascent at 
eight o'clock ; but continued to rise gradually for 
half an hour longer, when we came to R&s en- 
Ntikb, the proper ' Head of the Pass.' Here how- 
ever we had immediately to descend again by a 
short but steep declivity, and cross the head of 



Wady el-Kureikireh running off south to Wady 
T^ba', of which it would seem to be a main branch. 
Ascending again along a ridge at the head of this 
valley, still on a course W.N.W., we had on our 
right a deep ravine called Wady er-Ridd&deh, run- 
ning eastward, a tributary of the Musry. At nine 
o'clock we finally reached the top of the whole 
ascent, and found ourselves on the high level of 
the desert above. During the whole way we had 
many commanding views of the gulf and of el- 
'Arabah; which latter, as seen from this distance, 
seemed covered in parts with a luxuriant vegeta- 
tion. But we had viewed it too closely to be thus 
deceived. The point where we now were afforded 
the last and one of the finest of these views. The 
castle of 'Akabah still bore S.E. by E., and the mouth 
of Wady el-Ithm E. by S. At 9.25 we came to 
the fork of the roads, called Muf&rik et-Turk, where 
the Haj route keeps straight forward, while the 
road to Gaza turns more to the right." 

The Marquis Arconati describes fully Has Qfireieh, 
and Jeziret el Qtireieh. 1 But he says little of Akaba, 
except about the castle and its illegible in scrip- 
tions. 2 Of the Wady Arabah, in which he spent 

1 See Diario in Arabia Petrea (1865) di Visconte Giammartino 
Arconati, Rome, 1872, p. 271. * Ibid. pp. 278-84. 



some days, en route to Petra, he gives some in- 
teresting particulars. 1 

February 8. — Last night Abu Nabut gave us 
some Yemen dates for dessert. He said he could 
not produce them before, or the Beduins would 
have devoured them all. He complained most 
bitterly of their voracity. They have eaten him 
up two whole loaves of sugar, and the poor man is 
in a most indignant frame of mind about it. It 
rained hard during the night, and I daresay there 
was a continuance of bad weather down below, so 
that we did well to return. I do not think we 
have had one single fine day since we left the 
* Erin ' and commenced our inland journey. 

We started at 8 a.m., turning off from the main 
valley up a siding, and in about two hundred yards 
came to a bridge over a deep ravine, above which 
the road ascended the side of the mountain, just 
like the roads up the passes over the Alps. The 
road has been worked on like them, and is a very 
pretty piece of engineering. I imagined it to have 
been constructed by the present Pasha ; but I under- 
stand that the whole is the work of Abbas Pasha. 
Here I was told by Abu Nabut that it would be 

*See Diario in Arabia Petrea(i865) di Visconte Giammartino 
Arconati, Rome, 1872, pp. 294, 296, 297, 300, 302, 303. 


impossible for me to make the ascent in the takh- 
terawdn, so while our people were loading I walked 
on for some twenty minutes, when I sat down to 
rest. When the camels came up I mounted the 
one Milne usually rides, he preferring to walk a 
little, and on I rode, at first slowly for nearly 
an hour, when I came to a magnificent view of 
" Mount Sinai" (Jebel B4ghir), and the head of 
the Gulf. On the road were stones inscribed with 
thefdtha, which I suppose served as milestones. 

The road now became more level, and I rode on 
briskly till 9.50, wfhen I came to the summit of 
the pass called Ras el Satkh. At this point the 
pilgrims from Cairo say the fdtha (prayer) towards 
my Mount Sinai, which is plainly visible, and they 
set up stones one upon another as memorials. The 
mountain is here nearly east — 94 5' by azimuth 
compass. The elevation is about 2000 feet I rested 
here awhile for the others to come up, and at half- 
past ten I got into my takkterawdn, and proceeded 
over an immense gravelly, which soon became 
sandy plain, in a direction a little to the north of 
west. It was almost perfectly barren. At twelve 
o'clock we stopped to lunch, when I set my watch 
by the sun, and I found it nearly quite right. 

At 12.40 we went on again over the same dreary 


plain. Thus far we were told it was all called 
el Satkh, meaning " the roof," but now it is the 
Tih — always the same dreary waste, with patches 
here and there of a little verdure. They call these 
patches, wadies, with names which I did not care 
to record ; but I could see little difference in the 
level. On the road we rose somewhat at first, but 
afterwards the elevation fell again. All the way 
the sandy surface of the rock was marked with 
parallel camel tracks, being those of the Hadj ! At 
2.45 we went more to the north-west, still over 
the plain, but its extent being limited by low hills. 
This, we were informed, was Wady Imshash, form- 
ing part of the Tih, and so we went on, till four 
p.m., when we stopped for the night. 

I was very thankful to do so, for I was so cold 
I hardly knew what to do. I actually lost the 
use of my hands, in spite of my having had silk 
gloves on, and having kept them covered up as 
well as I could in the takhterawdn. Immediately 
the tent was ready I lay down and went to sleep, 
which did me good, but did not make me warm. 
I then went into the other tent, where there was 
a good fire, over which I toasted myself till the 
dinner was ready. This, and a fire I have had 
brought into my tent, have warmed me sufficiently 


to enable me to write up my notes and this letter, 
which 1 trust you may be able to read, as luckily 
you can often read my writing when I cannot do 
so myself. I shall now have a cup of tea and go 
to bed. It will be cold all the way to Suez I 

February 9. — It was indeed cold during the 
night This morning the ground and our tent are 
covered with hoar frost, and the thermometer stood 
at 6.30 a.m., just before sunrise, at freezing point, 
32 s . They say that we are in danger of thieves as 
far as Nakhl, and so our trunks and my writing- 
desk are taken every night into the other tent. 
With the Hadj every year, goes a man of Cairo, 
named Abu Hal&weh, who knows all the places 
where the fdtha is to be said, on reaching which he 
calls out with a loud voice, " Fdtha, Jebel Ba^jhir" 
— " F&tha, Wady e' Nur," and so on. And then 
all the pilgrims repeat together the first chapter 
of the Koran, which to them is like our " Lord's 
Prayer." It was a lovely morning, but as it was 
still very cold, I thought it better to go on walking 
than to stand still. So I went on slowly with 
Milne for an hour and a quarter dawdling and 
occasionally standing still, but always moving on. 
I wore my Kefiy a ov er my cap , a nd cont i nued to 
do so the whole d 


cold, but to keep off the sun ! It turned out a 
regular hot day, which we enjoyed after the con- 
tinued wet and cold we have experienced hitherto. 
It is cold again to-night, and we are glad to have 
a fire in our tent. 

About half-past eleven a Beduin of the tribe of 
H&wi (plural H&w&t) came, up to us, and wanted 
to know what we were doing on his ground. He 
was a little chap, armed with an old gun, though I 
doubt if he had any ammunition for it, but he had 
lots of pluck. There seemed symptoms of a row, 
and our people took to their swords. Whereupon 
Abu Nabut took the matter upon himself. It ap- 
peared that the H&wi wanted to supply us with 
camels. Abu Nabut did not deny his right to do 
this ; but said we came from Akaba on business of 
the Effendina (Khedive), and as there were no 
H&w&t there, we took TowAras. That was all 
very well, he said, but he wanted to supply us now. 
" All right/' replied Abu Nabut ; " have you got 
the camels here ? " " No ; but I will bring them." 
" Bring them then," answered Abu Nabut. " I will 
to-morrow or next day." " But we cannot wait," 
we said. "But you must wait," answered the 
H&wi. Then with an air of injured innocence, 
Abu Nabut' came to me and requested me to note 


down the name of Suleiman Salim, who wanted 
to stop the Hakim Bashi travelling for the Effen- 
dina, &c, &c. This so frightened the fellow that 
he decamped. We saw a large number of goats 
grazing on the mountain-side close by, and there- 
fore there must be several persons there ; but there 
are no camels, and if the H&wi is gone to fetch 
them, we, in the meanwhile, continue our way, and 
by to-morrow shall be off his ground ! The tracks 
on the road of which I wrote yesterday are in 
part caused by Abbas Pasha having had the stones 
cleared off there when his mother went to Mecca. 
What an affectionate son ! I fancy he had a little 
game of his own to play, and made his mamma an 
excuse so as not to give the Sultan cause of offence. 
In a chalk hill which we crossed to-day, he had 
had a cutting made to lower the ascent. On one 
side is a stone with an Arabic inscription in com- 
memoration of it, on the other side of the cutting 
are a lot of inscriptions, or rather rude marks, some 
of them very much in the style of the " Sinaitic," 
or of my " Jebel-e'-Nur." This chalk hill is called 
Jebel Mdujar. On the way Milne found some 
hematite or iron ore. He has given me speci- 
mens to show to the Khedive. I shall also have 
his drawings for the same purpose. 




February 10. — A very fine morning, and nothing 
like so cold as yesterday. At 6.45 a.m. the ther- 
mometer stood at 48 . The dress of the Sheikhs is 
very picturesque with its three colours, red, white 
and black. On my asking at what time we should 
arrive at Nakhl to-morrow, the Sheikh said, we 
could not be there till the day after. On this T 
blew up, complained of their delay and constant 
wish to stop, and I finished by saying, I would not 
pay for more than five days — and even this is one 
day more than I bargained for at Cairo. We 
started at 7.50, and had a monotonous sort of 
morning, the day being fine but not at all warm. 
In fact there was a cold wind blowing, which made 
me very chilly in the takkteraivdn, and at last just 
at noon, I felt myself quite ill. The wind had 
caught my right arm and hand, though I had three 
coats on, and I had an attack of what seemed like 
venous congestion. My hand was blood red, with 
very little feeling in it. I could not hold my style 
to write. 1 

I got down and walked for upwards of an hour, 
at times pretty sharply, rubbing my hand and 

1 After the serious illness from which Dr. Beke had so recently 
recovered, this journey was altogether too arduous an undertaking, 
and had he had to perform the journey entirely by land, it is feared he 
would never have reached the " Mountain of Light" 


beating it across my chest. At length it recovered 
its feeling and natural colour, and being now tired, 
I got again into my carriage, and wrapped myself, 
especially my right side, in Milne's railway rug, 
over which Abu Nabut put his thick cloak, so that 
I felt quite warm. After I had ridden about an 
hour, we came to Wady Kureis, where is an im- 
mensely deep well, and by it a tank which Abbaa 
Pasha had had constructed for the pilgrims. It is 
nearly one hundred feet in length, and some sixty 
feet in width, and perhaps half as deep : along 
one side are troughs for camels. Before reaching 
this we saw a herd of camels of the Heiwat going 
down the valley with only one man. At this wady 
the territory of the H&wat ends, and that of the 
Teiydha begins : this continues to Nakhl, where 
commences that of the Towdra, to whom our 
people belong. The Sheikh wanted to stop soon 
after 4 p.m., but I insisted on his going on, as I 
positively declared I would be at Kala'at e' Nakhl 
to-morrow, even if we travelled to midnight. So 
we went on till 5.45 p.m., the sun having set some 
time, when I was induced to stop on the promise that 
we should start very, very early to-morrow morning 
and get to Nakhl by night. I preferred this to going 
on now ; as, if the worst comes to the worst and 


we have to go on by night, there will be the castle 
for us to put our beds up in, without waiting for 
the tents to be set up. This evening I am all 
right again, and writing as usual Milne is dead 
beat, having walked the whole day. He does not 
much like the camel-riding. I had almost vowed 
I would never mount a camel again after my 
experience of 1 843 at Tor. But I did not feel any 
inconvenience from my short ride the day before 
yesterday. I almost liked it. 

February 11. — This morning I was getting out 
of bed at 6. is, when Hashim came in with water 
for me to wash : the first time on the journey that 
I have not been up first — a great disgrace, as I 
tell them, I the master, and the eldest ! This 
morning we breakfasted in the open air, in order 
that the tent might be taken down ; but they were 
not ready when I was, so I and Milne walked on 
at seven o'clock. After walking for about half an 
hour, we saw a few camels grazing belonging to 
the Terabin, of whom the Teiy&ha appear to be a 
sub-tribe ; they went on before us, and we some 
time afterwards saw they had one man with them. 
By and by we came to a large number of camels, 
probably as many as one hundred, grazing on our 
left We did not see any people with them. 


Our road was a very monotonous one, like that of 
yesterday ; but it was interesting to me, as it gave 
me an opportunity — or, rather, I should say, it 
caused me to make careful observations of our 
route, as that on the map which Mr. B. sent 
me is altogether wrong. I never saw anything so 
bad. I did not want to be bothered with this, but 
I must. The sun was intensely hot to-day, and 
we both got our faces burnt frightfully. 

We arrived at the Kala'at e' Nakhl at 5.45. 
My companion, Milne, walked the whole way I I 
was very tired, and went immediately into my 
tent and lay down, so that I know nothing yet 
about the place or its inhabitants. It is a kalla'a 
or castle, like that of Akaba, only smaller, and has 
a garrison of Egyptian soldiers. That is all I can 
say at present about it. 

February 12. — Very cold again this morning. 
The thermometer is at 6.45 a.m. 30 . We are 
now in the great Wady el 'Arish — the Wady el 
Kebir " Quadelquiver," of this part of the world : 
a great sandy plain between two ranges of chalk 
cliffs. There is plenty of water, but it runs off, 
otherwise I do not see why it might not be made 
as fertile as the chalk hills of Kent. Milne says 
that the soil is principally composed of lime and 


silica, forming a sort of loam, but there is very 
little alumina or clay. I hear that it is very cold 
here at all times ; and that of the Hadj pilgrims 
who passed here last month — or rather, two months 
ago — thirty died from the cold, and seventeen had 
to be sent back to Egypt. As we did not start so 
early as yesterday, having to supply ourselves with 
water, Milne and I went into the castle. It is 
much smaller than that of Akaba, and as the Hadj 
is past, there is nothing for the garrison of forty 
soldiers to do ; so their firelocks are hung up in 
linen cases in the entrance hall, and they them- 
selves are " at ease " in their apartments I There 
was one fellow sitting on a seat in the entrance 
wrapped up in his cloak, but he took no notice of 
us, nor we of him. A man of the place was sent 
with us by Abu Nabut, and he took us to the top of 
the castle. The stairs reminded me of those lead- 
ing up to the Samaritan synagogue at Shechem ; 
so I was on my guard on this occasion, and 
went up and down very carefully. Our guide 
was also very attentive to me. On the way up we 
saw a sakiyeh worked by two mules, which draws 
water from an immense depth, and delivers it into 
three large tanks, There is another well outside 
the castle, which can be worked in case of need. 


On the terrace above we had a fine view, and 
Milne took some angles. There is a small village 
adjoining the castle, where we saw lots of children 
more cleanly dressed than those at Akaba. It must 
be rather slow work here. 

When we came down we were accosted by the 
Haz Bashi, who would seem to have been wakened 


up by our appearance, and he accompanied us to 
our tents, where we found everything ready for 
our departure, and after going with us a short 
distance on foot, he took his leave, with many 
good wishes for our journey. This is a very 
interesting and important spot to me, as being 
the station which I identify with the "Succoth" 
of Exodus. 1 

We crossed the broad plain of the Wady el 'Aiish 3 
— in which are several water channels, though 
they have not a drop of water in them — and con- 
tinued all day a most monotonous journey, in a 
north-westerly direction. On the way I heard our 
people speaking about Mount Bdghir — "Mount 
Sinai, mush B£ghir," as Abu Nabut said. This 
will be the cry now, and it will soon be taken up 
by all ! About one o'clock we met a woman with 


1 Exodus xii. 37. 

2 Isaiah xxvii. 1 2. Palmer's " Desert of the Exodus," pp. 286, 287. 

2 H 


two children on two camels. She was the wife of 
a soldier at Nakhl. I certainly was surprised at 
meeting her, with only one Arab driving the camels ; 
a second one followed at some distance. The Derb 
el Hadj is a well-trodden path, and perfectly safe. 

We arrived in Wady Nethilah at 5.50 p.m., 
where we are encamped for the night. It is much 
less cold here. On the journey I wore my dark 
spectacles, and I felt the benefit of them. Yester- 
day I was quite blinded by the sun, and actually 
could not see for some time after I had entered 
the tent. I have arranged with Abu Nabut to 
send my letters on from to-morrow's station, so 
that they may get to Suez in time for the mail of 
Sunday. I shall see and get my letter to "The 
Times" ready to send you. You will of course 
forward it at once. I shall not telegraph to you 
till 1 get to Suez, but I shall do so to Mr. Gibbs if 
I am able. This letter will be all I shall send to 
you now. 

February 13. — We left this morning at 8.15, 
aud arrived at our station in the Wady Hawawiet 
at 4.40 p.m. It rained a little in the morning, and 
my people wanted to stay; but I would not let 
them, as it is absolutely necessary my letters should 
go on to-night to Suez. I have prepared a tele- 


gram on the road for Mr. Gibbs to make use of: 
therefore you will see the news in Renter's tele- 
grams no doubt. I only truBt I shall find good 
news from you when I arrive. God Almighty 
bless you. Addio. 

Ras el Gibab {two days from Suez), February 
14. — I begin here the last letter I shall have to 
write to you on what is properly to be called my 
"journey," with the most gratifying intelligence 
that I have satisfactorily determined the position 
and identification of Pi-ha-hiroth — the entrance 
to the caverns. It is the Wady Mahaserat, which, 
in my last letter, I told you we went up from the 
west side of the head of the Gulf of Akaba. It was 
only this evening that Mr. Milne gave me the full 
particulars of his trip to the " Maghara," near 
Pharaoh's Island, on the 6th inst, the particulars 
of which are duly recorded in my route-book. 

After I had done up my letter last night for Mr. 
Levick I gave it to the messenger, one of the 
Beduina of our party, who was to carry it to Suez ; 
after which every one joined in giving him instruc- 
tions as to where he was to go, and what he was 
to do when he got to the Canal, where he would be 
sure to be stopped, as the bridge is only opened for 
passengers once a day. He was to say that it was 


from the Hakim Bashi, the Emir to whom the 
Khedive gave the steamer, and that it was for the 
Bostat-el-Inglese, for the Khawaja Lebbek, and of 
great importance, and then he would be sure to be 
allowed to pass at once. Then the man, though 
not afraid of thieves, had a wholesome dread of 
hyenas on the road, so he was supplied with a 
pistol, powder and shot. To these Abu Nabut 
added a cloak, and some one else a coat, to protect 
the poor man from the cold, and at nine o'clock he 
started on a swift camel or dromedary. He will 
reach the bridge early this morning. 

We started at 8 a.m. The Sheikh wanted to 
wait, as it threatened rain, but I was inexorable ; 
and after all it was fine. Near us yesterday were 
encamped a soldier, his wife and child, with three 
camels. This is a regular beaten road, as I ex- 
plained when we were at Kala'at el Nakhl. Where 
we stopped to lunch we fell in with a party of 
Beduins goiug to Suez with wood and charcoal, 
some ten camel loads. For the charcoal they may 
get as much as one pound the camel load ; for the 
wood, four shillings only. One could hardly imagine 
that this would pay them. We are now on our 
way down to Suez, having crossed the water-part- 
ing between the Mediterranean (Wady el 'Arish) 


and the Gulf of Suez. Near the summit the road 
has been cleared of stones, and improved by Abbas 
Pasha. Here Milne found a vein of yellow ochre 
(an ore of iron), which he gave me for the Khedive. 
Neither this nor the other would pay to work, but 
I shall do right to give them to His Highness. 

Febwxary 15. — The last morning I shall have to 
write to you before reaching Suez, which is now, 
thank God, within sight I Before we got to our 
place of encampment last night, we came upon a 
considerable tract of green grass : its colour was 
remarkable, and took us quite by surprise ! I am 
convinced that formerly this country was fertile, 
and that it might be made so again. But when 
once we had crossed the water-parting, we came 
into a sandy region extending to the Gulf of Suez, 
where vegetation is difficult, and almost impossible. 
Our Beduins collected a lot of wood on the way to 
serve for their fires to-night, as they will find none 
further on. In the sand we found stunted plants, 
with immensely long roots to them : one measured 
as much as nine yards in a straight line t These 
are the things to keep the sand together. 

Thinking over Milne's report about those caves 
at Mabaserat, I asked Abu Nabut the meaning of 
" Mahaserat," when the fellow began telling me a 


long cock and a bull story about Moses and Pharaoh 
taken from the Kor&n, and so explaining the name. 
This shows you how soon legends arise. About 
noon to-day we came in sight of the sea, and I 
cried out, like the ten thousand Greeks, " Odkaaaa" 
(the sea) ! After that we kept coming down, down, 
so that on the whole we have descended some 900 
feet. The difference of temperature was very soon 
felt, and it was warm in spite of a strong wind 
blowing. On the other side of the mountains the 
same wind would have frozen us to death. Milne 
has made a sketch of me to-day in my tdkhtera- 
wdn ; it will give you an idea of the conveyance, 
and others too, who may feel inclined to follow 
my example when they perform a pilgrimage to my 
Mount Sinai. I fear I could not have performed 
the journey without it. 

Suez, February 15. — I have only time to inform 
you of my safe arrival here. For your dear letters, 
and all you have done for me, as I knew you 
would, you have my hearty thanks. The steamer 
from Bombay is behind-hand, so Milne will go 
on by her perhaps to-night. The ' Erin ' has not 
returned ! She is at Tor, so my letters by her will 
come on after me. I have completed a rough 
sketch of the letter for " The Times." I conclude 


that journal will be the best to send it to, but I 
leave you absolute discretion to do what you like 
with it. 

Now, perhaps, that these important matters have 
been thus brought by me to public notice in " The 
Times," it may be worth the while of others to 
follow up the great discoveries I have been per- 
mitted to make, and complete them more in detail 
than it has been in my power to do. 

February 16. — So our poor friend Livingstone 
is dead ! This is sad news indeed. I have made 
up my mind to start for Cairo to-morrow. I cannot 
wait to see Milne off; but Mr. Andrews, the chief 
clerk of the P. and 0. Company, is very kind and 
will attend to him. Ho takes on the instruments 
for the Royal Geographical Society, and the geolo- 
gical specimens. 1 I see that you have inserted my 
" Notes on Egypt " in the " Athenaeum," and that 
the editor, as usual, has cut put all that concerns 
me and my expedition. I have no time to answer 
your letters to-day, being fully occupied with all 
our friends here, and I have still some observations 
to make. I find that, after all, Mahaserat really 
means what Abu Nabut said, so that I have a very 
strong case. I shall have to fight lots of people 

1 Presented, by Dr. Beke's desire, to the British Museum. 


when I get to England; but I shall have the 
majority on my side. I have done what I wished, 
and am truly thankful for it. 

Midnight. — I am truly grieved to learn such 
bad news of your health. The trouble and anxiety 
I have unfortunately caused you have, I feel, been 
greatly instrumental in increasing your illness. I 
only hope, when I return home, we may be able to 
get you well again. 

( 4»9 ) 




Cairo, February 1 7. — To go back to our last day's 
journey to Suez, which commenced at 7.30 in the 
morning. We proceeded eastward towards the 
bridge over the Suez Canal, which has caused the 
Hadj route to be diverted from its former course, 
to the one on which we travelled, being to the 
south of the old road. At 10.30 we came to the 
bridge, which is a miserable concern, quite unworthy 
of so great an undertaking. It is made of roughly 
hewn timbers laid across four iron boats, two on 
each side ; between which a movable platform laid 
on three other boats is dragged by ropes, and 
then rafters run out to support a sort of portcullis, 
which is lowered down, and then planks laid to 
make a connected roadway — altogether a most 
barbarous affair. We were half an hour before we 
got across. Abu Nabut had sent most of our Arabs 
on in front to help to pull the boats into their 
places and so expedite matters. 



After crossing we proceeded over the fresh water 
canal and along its side, between it and the salt 
marshes at the head of the Gulf, which they are 
attempting to render fertile ; but it will be a long 
time indeed before they succeed in this. We then 
crossed the marsh itself, and so soon as we got on 
solid ground we stopped to lunch, and then con- 
tinued our journey, reaching Suez at 2 p.m. 

As we entered the town we were told by some 
Beduins that our messenger arrived safely on Sun- 
day morning ; but this we found not to be exactly 
the fact, it having been Sunday afternoon. Never- 
theless, it would appear that Mr. Levick did not 
forward my telegram to Mr. Tuck till Monday 
morning, out of consideration, perhaps, for poor 
Tuck, who has been at death's door since I left. 
Instead of going to the hotel, I decided on encamp- 
ing on an open space at the back of the town 
called "the camp." During the afternoon lots of 
hadjis from Mecca arrived, and pitched their tents 
around us. 

I have already told you that I left Suez at 8 
o'clock this morning, after having thanked all my 
good friends for their kind assistance, and wished 
them " good bye." Abu Nabut came on with me 
by train to act as courier. You suggest that I 


should give a lecture here. If I were a ready 
speaker I would ; but I should have to write it out, 
and I have not the time for this. On my arrival 
here I met Mr. Rogers, who was kindly coming down 
to the station in his carriage to meet me. Mr. 
Gibbs also came up and welcomed me most cor- 
dially. This resulted in my going in to dine at 
the Consulate and to tell them all the news. 1 

February 18. — My first visit this morning was, 
of course, to Nubar Pasha. He was delighted to 
see me, I might almost say in raptures, so glad was 
he to be relieved from the anxiety and responsibility 
he had incurred on my account, believing, not un- 
naturally from the non-appearance of the 'Erin/ 
that some accident had happened to me. " Never 
again," said he, " would he do a good natured thing 
for any foreigner!" Had I been lost, he would 
have been deemed my " assassin" and so on. I 
had to appease him as well as I could, and to tell 
him that I knew his " bonttf " would not allow him 
to keep his pledge. He tells me he only heard of 
the safety of the ' Erin ' two days ago. It appears 
that the Captain ran short of coal, and this, to- 

1 Mr. Rogers has confirmed the meaning of " Mahaserat," as 
being the " hemming in," the " driving up into a corner ; M so that 
Abu Nabut's story is correct. 


getber with very foul weather, had delayed them so 
much that they with difficulty reached Tor at all. 

During the last week there have been marriages 
in the Khedive's family, and fantasia ketir — fes- 
tivities without end, so that public business has 
been a little, or rather, a great deal neglected. His 
Excellency asked me no end of questions about my 
journey. My description of the fertility of Madian 
(Midian) and Akaba interested him very much 
indeed ; also my opinion of the possibility of fer- 
tilizing the Tih, which I contend is not very much 
worse than Kent — " the garden of England " — as 
regards soil, the great drawback being, of course, 
the comparative want of water. But water is there, 
if they only knew how to utilize it, and if once 
they planted trees, the rain would increase, as it 
has already done in other parts of Egypt. 1 The 
latter part of our conversation, which lasted up- 
wards of an hour, turned upon " miracles," respect- 
ing which his belief is much the same as mine, 
namely, that "all things are miracles." I spoke 
of my compagnon de voyage as a perfect man of 
science, who would not believe in things contrary 
to what is called the laws of nature, and who was, 
therefore, dissatisfied at our not having found a 

1 See w The Khedive's Egypt," p. 6 1 , and " Egypt as it is," pp. 352-354. 


volcano — to which he replied, " II est un savant 
m^crdant, tandis que vous, M. Beke, vous 6tes un 
savant croyant," to which I answered, "Plut6t 
croyant que savant." This brought me a hearty 
squeeze of the hand, and so we parted. 

All the people here seem full of my discoveries ; 
and Abu Nabut, who is now the prince of drago- 
mans, is in great request, my discoveries losing 
nothing by the manner in which he relates them. 
The welcome and congratulations I receive on all 
sides are most cordial and gratifying. I hear that 
the British Consulate here is abolished, and my 
friend Rogers has been offered the Consulate at 
Buenos Ayres, where his profound knowledge of 
Eastern affairs would be lost, and he would have to 
begin another line of study, so he has refused. 1 But 
this is a matter with which the Foreign Office does 
not concern itself; its practice being always to put 
the square peg into the round hole, and vice versa. 

I have now been to call on General Stanton, 
who received me in a very friendly manner, asking 
me a good deal about my journey ; but I did not 
altogether like his manner. He twitted me with 
not having brought back some of the sacrificial 

1 Mr. E. J. Rogers was soon after appointed Director of Public 
Instruction in Cairo by the KheMive of Egypt. 



bones. The afternoon was taken up in receiving 
visits from many of my very good friends here ; 
but, hearing Colonel Gordon (Chinese Gordon) was 
in Cairo, I managed to go and call on him. He is so 
like our friend Major Wilson, that for the moment 
I thought it was the Major; and he himself ad- 
mitted the likeness. Colonel Gordon is a man of 
middle height, sparely but strongly built, and giv- 
ing little indication of the strength, both of sinews 
and constitution, which has borne him so far un- 
scathed through so many hardships. In complexion 
he is still comparatively fair and fresh. He is quite 
youthful in appearance, with regular features, brown 
hair, and bright keen eyes. We had half an hour's 
friendly conversation, during which we spoke of Sir 
Samuel Baker's expedition having cost a total of 
,£475,000 ; but he said he thought the real cost was 
not more than half that sum. However, even this 
is a good big sum for having done what Gordon 
has now to undo ! He expressed a wish to know 
my views about the Upper Nile, the lakes, &c, and 
proposed that we should adjourn till to-morrow 
morning, when we could meet at his room, where 
he has a large map. Gordon knows all about us 
from our friend Dr. Stevenson of Patrixbourne, and 
says he has seen our old house at " Bekesbourne." 


I am told there was a large American party here 
a few days ago, a Dr. Bartlett and company, who 
were very sorry they had missed me. Apropos of 
Dean Stanley's " three low peaks," I have just seen 
Abdullah Joseph, who was the Dean's dragoman 
eighteen years ago, and went with him to Petra, 
passing Jebel-e'-Niir, and he tells me that it is a 
common Arab tradition that this is the true Sinai ; 
and yet he never told Dean Stanley, nor, according 
to his account, has he mentioned it to any other 
traveller. I cannot make this out. The man says, 
and not without some show of reason, that the Arab 
tradition is more to be trusted to than the Christian 
one ; because they have had it from father to son. 

Februaiy i 9. — I am even more tired to-day than 
I was yesterday, though I have done nothing to 
make me so. The fatigue of my journey, which I 
withstood so manfully, is now telling on me. Mr. 
Milne, I hear, left Alexandria yesterday morning 
for Southampton. He will probably be in Eng- 
land as soon as this letter. This morning I re- 
sumed my conversation with Colonel Gordon, and 
have been talking " Upper Nile " with him. He 
leaves for Suez to-morrow morning, and thence 
proceeds by sea to Suakin, and on by land to 
Khartum, his object being to reach Gondokoro as 


quickly as possible, and to proceed up the river 
Nile to where it is said to be navigable as far as 
the Albert Nyanza. 

In the evening, just as I was going to bed, 
Colonel Gordon called again on me. He said he 
could not leave without saying good-bye to me. 
We had some very interesting conversation about 
his expedition. I recommended him not to be in 
a hurry, my experience of African character having 
taught me that such work as his, to be sure, must 
be slow. He replied that he was prepared to 
devote himself to his task, and to leave his bones 
in Africa, if it were so to be. Taking up your 
little Bible from the table, he said that was his 
companion and guide. He promised to write to 
me, and we parted good friends I trust. 

[Colonel Gordon is now Gordon Pasha, and from 
the reports that have since reached us from time to 
time it has been seen that he has fully redeemed 
his vow ; for not only has he ably and thoroughly 
accomplished the task he then set himself, but has 
even made his expedition, so far from being an 
expense to the Khedive, actually pay its own ex- 
penses, and a source of revenue to Egypt. His 
work in Eastern Intertropical Africa, thus far, has 
been preparatory to that on which he is now so 


earnestly engaged, namely, the total abolition of 
the slave trade. With such absolute authority 
as the Khe'dive has recently intrusted to him — by 
appointing him Governor-General of the Soudan 
for life, and having raised him to the rank of a 
Pasha — there can be very little doubt that he will 
do much to assist this glorious object If not en- 
tirely successful in this work, which is one hardly 
within the power of any single human being to 
accomplish in a lifetime, he will at all events have 
done a great work in developing commerce and 
civitisation within the regions of Eastern Inter- 
tropical Africa. 

Gordon Pasha's journals are said to be in course 
of preparation for publication, and will doubtless 
be looked forward to with deep interest by all who 
feel any concern in African matters.] 

February 20. — I am back just in time to meet 
the Nile travellers, who are returning from Upper 
Egypt, and will now be proceeding to Palestine 
via my Mount Sinai and Petra. In the course of 
conversation with Cook's manager, Mr. Howard and 
Abu Nabut, I learned that not only is thunder said 
to be heard by the pilgrims on their way back from 


e'-Nur ; and that there is a tradition that when 
Moses was crossing Wady el-Tih, he saw the pillar 
of fire on the summit of this mountain, which is 
the reason for its name. You will recollect that 
when at Akaba I asked the origin of the name, 
but could not get any satisfactory explanation. 
Such is almost invariably the case. You must 
leave these people to tell their story their own way. 
If you put leading questions or ask for explana- 
tions, you are almost certain to be misled. The 
truth of all these traditions is not at all the ques- 
tion. It is the/ac( of their existence that concerns 
me. If I were to speculate on the subject, it might 
be objected that all this was pure imagination ; 
whereas I have now simply to relate facts, and 
leave others to draw their own conclusions. 

I am also happy to be able to meet one of Gene- 
ral Stanton's objections or cavils respecting the 
sacrifices. The Arabs continue to perform sacrifices 
at the present day ; it would therefore have been 
preposterous for me to have brought away with 
me the Iwrns of an animal that might, for aught I 
know, have been killed and eaten a few months 
ago I But I learned that there is no stated period 
for making these sacrifices on Jebel-e'-Nur, as there 
is on Mount Arafat by Mecca. Those performed 


on Jebel-e'-Nur are ex voto, or by way of thanks- 
giving after recovery from illness, or in consequence 
of any good fortune. 1 This explains the visit of 

1 " The last number of the Compta Haulm of the Academy of 
Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres in Paris contained an interesting 
attempt made by M. Joseph Halevy to decipher in their entirety 
the graffiti to be found on rocks in tile desert of Safa, situated south- 
east of Damascus. Mr. Cyril Graham, had signalised them for the 
first time in 1857, and twenty-one of them were published in an im- 
perfect state in the Transaction! of the German Oriental Society, 
Ten years later Dr. Wetzstein, at that time Prussian Consul in 
Damascus, made copies of 260 of tbem, twelve of which are to be 
found in his Diary in the Hauran, Berlin, i860. In the following 
year, and in 1862, Count de Vogue, French Ambassador at Vienna, 
and M. Waddington, late Minister of Public Instruction in Paris, 
both members of the French Institute, took copies of some hundreds 
of these inscriptions, 402 of which have lately been published by the 
former in the second series of his work, ' La Syrie Centrale.' The 
letters having some resemblance to those of (he Himyaritic inscrip- 
tions, two German Orientalists tried to attribute the graffiti to the 
tribes of Saba, who, as it is supposed, came to Safe from Yemen to- 
wards the beginning of the first century of the Christian era, and 
accordingly they based the decipherment of them on the language 
of the Himyaritic inscriptions. Their attempt, however, did not 
lead to any satisfactory results. M. Halevy thinks that those 
graffiti were traced by the Arabic tribe Thamood who served aa 
mercenaries in the Roman army. They contain, according to him, 
mostly proper names with devotional formula;, similar to those of 
the Sinaitic inscriptions. We shall quote the translation of a few 
of them : ' By An'am Ablam, son of the son of Am, son of 'Ab- 
deel, son of Wahib, son of 'Abdeel.' 'By Ofah, aon of Carib, in 
memory of his mother.' Some of them finish witli the words, 'In 
memory of all the relations (I), friends (1). May there be peace 
with the others.' Others have the words : ' He has accomplished 
his vow;' and 'He has done (that), may he be pardoned.' As to 
the language of these graffiti, M. Halevy believes it to be inter- 
mediate between the Arabic and the Northern Semitic dialects. 
We find here the conjunction 9 as in Arabic and the Sabean idiom, 
as well as a great number of proper names which are in use in those 


Sidi Ali ibn 'Elim, who, I am told, was a Moslem 
commander in the first ages of Islam, like Abu 
Obeida — whose tomb you and I saw in the valley 
of the Jordan, and which you photographed. 1 I 
dare say the Cufic inscription we found at the foot 
of the mountain may tell us something about this. 
I must try and get a squeeze taken of it. 

Colonel Gordon has not yet gone. He has seen 
my article in the Athenmim? and does not think 

and the 1 as suffix of the third person masculine, occur in these 
inscriptions as in Hebrew. There are, however, words which are 
peculiar to the language of the graffiti, e.g. QJJ9, which occurs often, 
and which M. Hal6vy translates with ' to consecrate something in 
memory of somebody.' No name of any God is mentioned directly 
(we find only in the formation of proper names ^NT^P, 'servant 
of El,' and ]D NJ^ ' confiding in Loo % and no cross or any other 
religious symbol, as is the case in the Christian inscriptions of Syria, 
is to be found. M. HaleVy concludes from this fact that the in- 
scriptions must have been written at a time when heathenism was 
already given up by the tribes that inscribed them without their 
having been as yet converted to Christianity. That would be to- 
wards the end of the third century a.d. ' At that time/ he says, 
1 Christianity became the official religion of the Empire ; doubt and 
scepticism penetrated amongst those Arabic tribes which were the 
allies of Rome, and amongst whom for a certain time a kind of vague 
Deism was .prevalent, until the day when they disappeared, having 
been absorbed by the great migrations which had token place in 
those countries.' This last supposition will have to be proved by 
some more valid arguments, which the author will probably pro- 
duce in his promised extended essay on the Safa graffiti. M. J. 
Derenbourg, member of the Institute, gave in a previous communi- 
cation to the Gomptes Rendu* the decipherment of some letters of 
these graffiti, the chief point of which was the recognition of the 
word ]2 'son,' read "O hy German scholars. n — Athtnceum, i6th 
March 1878. 

1 Mrs. Beke's, " Jacob's Flight,* p. 285. 

* Athen<eum, 24th January 1874. 


there is anything in it the Viceroy would be offended 
with, as his policy with respect to the annexation 
of all this part of Africa is well known and under- 
stood. In fact. Lieutenant Baker openly declared 
it in his paper read before the Royal Geographical 
Society, a notice of which appeared in the Times. 

Last night I saw the carriage of some big- wig or 
other pass by the hotel, preceded by four Kawdsses, 
the two middle ones carrying their sticks, as usual, 
and the other two, torches. It was a pretty sight, 
and caused the natives as it passed to exclaim, 
" Mashallah !" I met Captain Kirk, a nephew of 
Mr. Merceron's, in the Esbekiah Gardens to-day, 
who is staying at my hotel. He tells me he saw 
my nieces a few days ago at his aunt's, Ac. 
We talked conversation talk. He is going to Bag- 
dad and Persia, though what for I know not. I 
have been showing Mr. Frank Dillon my com- 
panion's sketches, which he looks on as very credit- 
able and effective. Fedrigo Pasha and I have 
exchanged visits, but as yet without meeting. 

I mean to write to my friend Professor Fleischer 
of Leipzig telling him of my discovery, and the 
traditions connected with it, and asking him what 
he knows about the subject I fancy that Cufic 
inscription would have told me something ; not 


going back to the time of Moses, but perhaps 
recording the visit of Ali lbn 'Elim, some thousand 
years ago. I spoke to Rogers about Gharrel-e > - 
Nahhil [at Succoth], and he says that it means 
" the Torrent of the Palm Grove." This shows that 
not only a palm tree (Nakhal), but a palm grove 
(Nakhil) must have existed in former times, where 
now no. palm trees are found, and that therefore the 
vegetation was greater then than it is now. The 
Khddive is not at Abdin just now, so that I do not 
know when I shall be able to see His Highness. 

February 22. — When I was thanking Mr. Gibbs 
for sending on my news from Mr. Tuck, he showed 
l me the list of the new Ministry. Sir Stafford 

1 Northcote is Chancellor of the Exchequer, I see ; but 

' I doubt whether he will do anything for me. My 

" friends " seem inclined to do nothing for me, 
much as I have done for them in times past. 

I met Nubar Pasha to-day, and congratulated 
} him upon the safety of the ' Erin.' Availing my- 

self of this opportunity I begged him not to delay 
speaking to the Khedive about me, and my desire 
to pay my respects to His Highness, as I said I was 
anxious to leave by the next mail for England, 
His Excellency replied that he had not yet had an 
opportunity, but would do as I wished. I have 


heard something more about that second mountain 
(Eratdwa), seen by Milne from the summit of Jebel 
Bighir, which you will recollect Abu Nabut spoke 
of as Horeb, with Rephidim. I suspect that Cufic 
inscription must be fully a thousand years old, if 
not more. 

To-day I spent an hour in the Esbekiah Gardens. 
You would be surprised to see how prettily they 
are laid out with water, grottos, waterfalls and par- 
terres, and in the centre a kiosque, where a military 
band plays three times a week, as is the custom 
at Nice, so that it is quite a pleasant lounge. I 
took a chair and sat down, for which I paid one 
piastre (two and a half pence), and listened to the 
music. They played " La Donna e Mobile " very 
well ; but after that, we had some Turkish music, 
which was barbarous enough. There were crowds 
of people, and among them a good sprinkling of 
native women! It is the last day of the Greek 
Carnival, so there were some masks, but very 
trumpery affairs. 

February 23. — I am going to make a rush to ste 
the Khedive, who is at Abdin, I hear. 1 1 p.m. — 
I have been to Abdin and seen Murad Pasha, the 
Master of the Ceremonies, to whom I expressed my 
wish for an audience of His Highness. He asked 


me to wait a few minutes, when he returned and 
said that His Highness was engaged just then, but 
would see me on Wednesday morning at nine 
o'clock. So until then I must be content to wait. 

February 25. — On my presenting myself at the 
palace this morning, I found Mr. Frank Dillon 
and a number of other persons awaiting audiences ; 
but His Highness could not receive them, and 
although I was requested to wait, the audience was 
ultimately postponed till to-morrow, on account of 
the Khddive being so very occupied with the 
Foreign Consuls. I hear there is a disturbance at 
the palace to-day about the modification of the 
" capitulations." 1 The other Powers generally have 
agreed to the proposed changes, but France holds 
out [but finally in 1875, under the pressure of a 
threat of the Egyptian Government to close the 
old mixed Tidjaret Courts, and so leave French 
citizens without means of redress against natives 
or foreigners, the measure was agreed to] ; and 
Nubar Pasha, who is very fiery, used some very 
strong expressions with respect to France. Alto- 
gether it is not a very auspicious time for seeking 
a farewell audience of the Khedive. 

I have come to the conclusion that^ib Bdghir 

1 McCoan's " Egypt as it is," p. 290. 


is the proper spelling of the name, though what the 
meaning is I cannot make out Hashim wanted 
to make it iU Bakir, pronounced here Bagir ; but 
he is certainly wrong, I should never have written 
it with an "r," Barghir, in the first instance, 
had there not been a Lghain, as in GAabagAib, 
when, if I mistake not, we put an " r " before the 
second gh, which is wrong. But the gh sounds 
exactly as if there were an " r " in it. I am told 
that Mount Sinai is called in the Kor&n " Tor 
Sinai/' and that Mount Tabor is called to this day 
" Tor Tabor." Tor 9 therefore, must mean " moun- 
tain. 9 ' I note this simply as a memorandum. 
" Erat6wa," the name of the second mountain near 
Mount B£ghir, on the other side of Wady Ithem, is 
said to derive its name from retvba (?), which 
means "cold or cool." In Robinsons account of 
his visit to Akaba, he makes out the Gulf to have 
extended very much, further to the north in former 
times. Btippell went the Hadj road in 1822. I 
must see what he says. 

February 26. — I went to Abdin again this 
morning. On my entrance I was received by one 
of the officers (probably Zecchy Pasha), seemingly 
one of equal rank with Tonnino Bey. Whilst I 
was waiting we talked about slavery and the slave 


trade, Sir Samuel Baker, &c. Tonnino Bey pre- 
sently came in and conversed with us, coffee being 
served in the usual way. At half-past ten o'clock 
I was invited to go with Tonnino, who took me 
to the foot of the stairs, and saluting me, left me 
in charge of the " gentleman in waiting," who re- 
ceived me at the head of the stairs, and marshalled 
me into the audience chamber — or rather into the 
ante-chamber, in which were numerous officers stand- 
ing about; and in which the Khedive welcomed 
me, coming towards me from the opposite side of 
the room. I made a profound bow and advanced 
to take His Highness's hand, which he held out to 
me, as he expressed his satisfaction at seeing me 
back, congratulating me on the success of my expe- 
dition, and mentioning the inquietude he had had 
on my account. He desired me to enter, and I fol- 
lowed him into what I take to be the audience 
chamber, requesting me to be seated — pointing to 
a chair — whilst he took a place upon the sofa. At 
this moment Nubar Pasha came in, and seated him- 
self en face. I proceeded to explain to His High- 
ness all that I had done ; Nubar interfering much 
more on this occasion than on the former in the 
conversation, translating into Turkish what I said. 
The Viceroy remarked, " Then it is not a volcano." 


I said, " No ; in this respect I found myself mis- 
taken, and that the appearance to Moses must there- 
fore be regarded as miraculous." He appeared much 
interested, and when I spoke of the Cufic inscription, 
he said it ought to be communicated to Brugsch. 

I then showed His Highness the specimen of iron 
ore, with respect to which he said, " It was unfor- 
tunate there was no coal near there/' His Highness 
had evidently been primed by his Minister. I next 
showed and explained my companion's several draw- 
ings, Nubar making a running comment on all that 
I said. When I had finished, His Highness volun- 
teered the remark, " You propose to publish them 
in an album." I replied, that such was my de- 
sire, and that if I might presume to request His 
Highness to do me the honour to allow me to dedi- 
cate the work to him — " With pleasure," responded 
he, bowing ; whereupon His Excellency interfered, 
by saying, u Nous parlerons de 9ela apr6s." This 
shut me up. So I thanked His Highness for his 
great kindness, and the assistance he had rendered 
the expedition, and took my leave. He shook 
hands with me in the most cordial and friendly 
manner, expressing the hope that he might have 
the pleasure of seeing me again. He came one 
step towards the door, and bowed as I turned round 


to make my reverence. This visit was one of more 
ceremony than the last. To-day, too, is a council 
day, and all the Ministers are in attendance. I am 
told it is not usual to give audience on that day. 
When I came down-stairs Tonnino Bey asked me 
particularly at what hotel I was staying, with what 
object I do not know, unless to send me a ' ticket 
for soup/ So altogether my farewell visit to the 
Khedive has not been very satisfactory. I had no 
opportunity even to dilate upon my plans for flood- 
ing the Lybian Desert 

February 27. — Mr. Young, Livingstone's friend, 
has arrived, so I went at once to call upon him. 
His two daughters are with him. He received me 
very kindly, and we spent a couple of hours to- 
gether in most interesting conversation, I showing 
them my sketches, &a I gave the young ladies 
some of the shells we brought from Madian (Midian.) 
We were talking about Livingstone and his first 
book, about which he consulted me when he was 
with us in Mauritius, and for which he got 
£10,000 from Murray. They agreed first for 
£2000, for 12,000 copies, and half profits for 
all over that number; then Murray agreed to 
give him half profits on the whole; and in the 
end he gave him two-thirds, the account showing 


a profit of £15,000! Murray's whole dealing in 
the matter was most liberal. 

Nubar Pasha is annoyed at my having gone to 
the Khedive direct, and is determined that the 
Khddive's consent to my dedicating my book to 
His Highness shall not hold good. Pazienza ! All 
my friends here agree with me that, as I had already 
the entrSe, there was no necessity for troubling 
Nubar Pasha on so trivial a matter, and that I was 
justified in taking the course I did. 

March 1. — Mr. Thomas Cook has just arrived 
here for the purpose of starting for Suez, the 
pseudo-Sinai, Petra and the Holy Land, the great 
detachment from the American "Oriental Topo- 
graphical Corps," under Professor Strong. Their 
camels, forty-three in number, went off yester- 
day to Suez. They take a photographer with 
them, and all sorts of apparatus. They are going 
to " do " the Holy Land entirely. It is most im- 
portant I should see them. If I can I shall try 
to get them to go over my ground and work it 
well. I still feel very tired and unwell, quite 
different to what I did whilst on the journey. 
I suppose it is the reaction after the great strain 
of the past months. Mr. Youug has now come 
to disbelieve the report of Livingstone's death, 


as do his father-in-law, Dr. Moffatt, and Dr. 
Kirk. I wonder if it will turn out to be another 
false alarm. 

So that fellow Orton has been found guilty, and 
sentenced to fourteen years' penal servitude. It 
would have been a misfortune and disgrace to the 
country had he by any means got off. Sir Alex- 
ander Cockburn will now, of course, retire and be 
made a peer. I wish I could retire, like him, on a 
good pension. Amongst the new arrivals is a 
brother 1 of Sir Stafford Northcote, a clergyman, 
with his wife and adopted daughter. Lord and 
Lady Clarence Paget are also here. 

March 2. — My letter to you via Marseilles, I 
made a mistake and posted in the wrong box. I 
ought to have sent it to the French post-office, 
which is still continued here, though the English 
one is abolished. I went to the post-office and in- 
quired if I could not rectify my mistake by paying 
something extra. I was told by the Director, to 
my surprise, that the administration taking into 
consideration the want of knowledge of the local 
postal arrangements on the part of "gli stranieri 
poverelli" — poor foreigners — took upon itself to 
put all such little mistakes straight, without mak- 

1 Since decease*!. 


ing any charge for it I What think you of that 
for Egyptian politeness I l 

I called on Professor Brugsch this morning, who 
took me rather aback by informing me that he had 
found out all about the route of the Israelites, and 
their passage of the Yam-Suph, which he makes to 
be neither the Gulf of Suez nor the Gulf of Akaba, 
but the Lacus Sirbonis lying on the extreme north- 
east of Egypt, close to the Mediterranean Sea, 
somewhere about 33 ° east long. What think you 
of that for a change ? He speaks quite dogmati- 
cally. It is no " opinion" of his ; he says he has 
no opinions. He deals simply with " facts." The 
inscriptions on the ancient monuments say so. All 
I say is, so much the worse for the interpretation 
of the inscriptions. From those inscriptions he 
says he can trace the route of the Israelites step 
by step as far as the Yam-Suph (translated " Red 

1 By the terms of a new Postal Convention with Egypt, which 
will come into operation on the ist of April next, the British post- 
offices at Alexandria and Suez will be abolished on that date, and 
the exchange of money orders, as well as all other postal transactions 
between Egypt and the United Kingdom, will be carried on entirely 
through the medium of the Egyptian post-office. No money orders 
payable at the British post-office either in Alexandria or Suez will 
be issued in this country after the 23rd inst Thenceforward all 
orders intended to be paid at those places will be drawn on the 
Egyptian post-office, and the regulations will be in all respects con- 
formable to those adopted in the case of orders drawn on towns in 
the interior of Egypt. — March 21 st, 1878. 


Sea "), and thence to " Marah," which he makes (if 
I understand him rightly) to be the Bitter Lake : 
further he cannot trace them. Where Mount Sinai 
is the inscriptions do not say, though he finds 
mention of a country named " Sina," the position 
of which is not indicated. Now my opinion is that 
this interpretation of Egyptian inscriptions is on a 
par with the late Charles Forster's interpretation 
of the so-called " Sinaitic inscriptions/' which he 
most elaborately and learnedly demonstrated step 
by step, word for word, letter for letter — every 
single word and letter of which was imaginary 1 
Brugsch is a very clever man, but I am afraid he is 
working out Champollion's system h Tovtranee. 
Mind, I am not alone in entertaining this opinion. 
What he told me certainly surprised me not a little 
at first. 

He is going to call on me to-morrow or next day, 
and bring me a list of some books he wished me to 
read in order to know how the " Sinai " question 
stands. There are a few recent ones which I know 
I ought to see ; but when he told me that Lepsius 
is the Jirst authority on the subject, and that his 
opinion is that Serbal is the true Mount Sinai 
instead of the traditional one, he merely told me 
what I knew more than twenty years ago ! He 


says he has not himself published anything material 
on the subject. 1 Jebel-eVNur he has heard of from 
Arabs, but knew nothing of its position, nor, in fact, 
anything of it except as the name of a mountain. 

Just before luncheon was over I caught sight of 
Professor Owen, who came into the dining-room of 
the hotel for a second ; so, taking off Mrs. Norris's 
souvenir, which I always wear at meals, I imme- 
diately jumped up, and followed him into the 
verandah, where he welcomed me, and I told him 
all about Mount Sinai, mentioning among other 
things the " angel's visits," when he said that the 
last angelic visit was that of an Englishman — the 
old pun of Pope Gregory — Non angli sed angdi. 
After leaving him, I told Mr. Young that Owen 
was there, as he wanted to see him. I then went 
back to take my cup of coffee, and returned again 
to the verandah, where Mr. Young and Mr. North- 
cote were talking together. 

Seeing Professor Owen sitting in a carriage in 
front of the hotel speaking to a gentleman, I drew 
attention to the resemblance of Owen's profile to 
that of " Punch," to which both Northcote and 
Young assented. I added, that he had also the 

1 See the "Athenaeum," 16th May 1864. See also the report in 
the "Times' 1 of 15th and 18th September 1874 of the meeting of 
the International Congress of Orientalists. 

2 K 


same sarcastic look, and Northcote said that he 
could speak sarcastically too, whereupon I instanced 
what he had just said to me, though that was 
more complimentary than sarcastic, but perhaps 
with a spice of irony ; and so the conversation 
became general. Mr. Young laughingly asked me 
across Mr. Northcote, why it was the angels in 
Jacob's vision went up and down a ladder? and 
on our both giving it up, he said, the reply of a 
Scotch boy was " he supposed it was because they 
were moulting "—had lost their wing feathers and 
therefore could not fly. 

I must not omit to tell you a very good story 
which General Stanton told me about the Egypto- 
logists. The Duke of Sutherland took a mummy 
to England with him, which he had unrolled by a 
learned Doctor, of the British Museum, and others 
interested in the subject. They had first had the 
inscriptions on the outside of the case given them 
to interpret, and they came to the assembly with 
the translation, describing in detail that the person 
whose body was enclosed was a certain priest named 
A. B. $ the son of C. D.> &c. The mummy was then 
unrolled, and lo ! and behold, the body was found 
to be that of a woman ! But one cannot contradict 
these Egyptologists, because they profess to have 
the key, and if you say that what they declare the 
meaning to be is not true, they ask you what then 


it does mean ? and if you are not prepared to say, 
that does not make them right. To-morrow 
I hope the American party will arrive, and then I 
should like to get away as quickly as possible. I 
hope money will arrive from you soon, as I want 
to settle with Abu Nabut, and be off home. 

March 3. — I forgot to mention that when Pro- 
fessor Owen was talking with me yesterday, he 
said he supposed they would now give me a 
Canonry, such being the way persons of my sort 
were rewarded — alluding to Canon Tristram. I said 
that I was not in orders ; but he replied that the 
Archbishop of Canterbury could easily remedy that. 
This is of course mere talk ; but you will recollect 
Bishop Ryan and others have often expressed some- 
thing of the same opinion. Archdeacon Hale, you 
know, strongly urged me when a young man to take 
holy orders ; it is almost a pity I did not. How- 
ever, I think that Mr. Disraeli [now Lord Beacons- 
field] and Sir Stafford Northcote ought at least to 
increase my pension to ^500 per annum. 

Mr. Thomas Cook has been to see my pictures, 
and we have had an interesting talk about them, 
and other matters connected with the Holy Land, 
and travellers. He promises to let his American 
tourists know about me, directly they arrive. As I 
was going down-stairs, I met Professor Owen again. 
He said he was coming to tell me that Lord Clarence 


Paget was much interested in my journey, and 
desired to have the pleasure of making my acquaint- 
ance, if I would go with him. I found his Lord- 
ship a very pleasing, not young, man, and with him 
I had an hour's conversation, going into the whole 
subject thoroughly. Lady Clarence is an invalid, 
he said, but hopes to be well enough to make my 
acquaintance in a day or two. His Lordship 
remarked, as I was leaving, that he took for granted 
I was travelling for the British Museum, and was 
quite surprised and shocked to learn that I was 
entirely on my own account, supported only by a 
few private friends, and was, in fact, now waiting 
for money to arrive to take me home. 

March 4. — My friend Colonel Morrieson has just 
arrived, having come down the Nile by the same 
steamer as the American party. There being no 
rooms to be had in this hotel, and the Colonel and 
I having been " chums " at Suez, it was arranged 
for a bed to be made up in my room for him for 
the night. The American party were taken by 
Cook to the Hotel d'Orient. Colonel Morrieson 
was delighted to hear of my success ; and when I 
said that I was waiting for funds from you, my 
journey and the delay in Egypt having cost more 
than I calculated, this kind good man, in the most 
unostentatious manner, made me a present of 
twenty pounds towards the expenses of my expe- 


dition. I thanked him sincerely, as you may 
suppose. After breakfast a young man, a Mr. 
Percy Bankart, whom I have seen during the last 
few days with the Miss Youngs, came to ask my 
advice about joining the American party. At first 
I was inclined to advise him not to join them ; but 
upon his explaining the special opportunity it 
offered, and the low terms upon which he would be 
taken, I said, " Go, by all means." He then pro- 
mised to endeavour to take a " squeeze " for me of 
those Cufic inscriptions. [On his return to England 
Mr. Bankart wrote to Dr. Beke to say he had not 
been successful in obtaining the "squeeze," on 
account of the edges not being sufficiently sharp.] 

I hear a very poor account of the American party 
from one who travelled with them up and down 
the Nile. He says he does not like them at all ; 
that they are ignorant, bigoted, narrow-minded 
people ; that there is not a single man of scientific 
acquirements or general knowledge — they are, in 
fact, mere "parsons," — a conceited, self-sufficient 
set. After hearing this I decided not to go to Dr. 
Strong. If he wants me he will come to me ; I 
shall not trouble myself about him. 

In the " Pall Mall Budget " of February 20, 1 see 
there is an article on my discovery of Mount Sinai. 
I should not be surprised at finding my " Sinai " is 
Wellstead's mountain, only he did not identify it 


with Sinai. The sand avalanche would well account 
for the thunder which Sheikh Mohammed assured me 
he, and others, had heard; only I do not quite see how 
there could be such " avalanches" on my mountain. 1 

There are two young Englishmen here named 
Creyke and Naylor, who are going to Petra ; they 
have engaged the dragoman Yonis, and having 
plenty of money, are going to "do n the tour, so as 
to be back in London for " the season." It is a 
miserable day, cold and overcast in the morning; 
in the afternoon showery, and now set in for rain. 
Such is Cairo, where it never rains ! 

With respect to the American party, poor Cook 
and Howard have had an awful time with them on 
the subject of Mohammed ibn Ij£t and his bakhshish 
and camels. My impression is, that Dr. Strong in 
his self-sufficiency will decide on going along the 
Wady Arabah, and not up Wady el Ithem I He 
intends to follow in the very footsteps of the Israel- 
ites — as if a single inch of the ground were known 

1 " It will be interesting to hear whether Dr. Beke's Sinai is the 
same mountain as that visited by Wellstead, and described in his 
' Travels in Arabia ' (1838). Wellstead's Sinai was not a mountain 
to be visited by travellers who look for silence in solitude. It was 
a very noisy mountain, for Wellstead, having seated himself on a 
rock, saw an avalanche of sand falling, the sound of which ' attained 
the loudness of thunder/ caused the seat to vibrate, and so alarmed 
his camels that they were with difficulty prevented by their drivers 
from bolting. A more frightful occupation can hardly be imagined 
than that of riding a runaway camel on Mount Sinai." — Pall Mall 
Budget, February 20, 1874, p. 16, col. 2. 


for a certainty. In the map which Mr. Bolton sent 
me, Kadesh Barnea is marked in three different 
places, fifty miles apart ; and in Mr. Samuel Sharpens 
map it is placed in a fourth position ; and yet this 
Yankee Doctor intends going in the very foot- 
steps ! This is almost a* amusing a* Mark Twain's 
Pilgrims in his " New Pilgrim's Progress/' who 
went to the Lake of Gennesareth, where they were 
in all the ecstasies of religious fervour. They 
would sail on the waters where the apostles had 
fished, where our Lord worked His miracles, and 
so on. A boat came near. How much would the 
people take ? Two napoleons. An imposition : one 
napoleon was enough ; they could not give a far- 
thing more. The boat sailed away, and they never 
had a sail on the Lake. And all this enthusiasm 
was wasted for the sake of a paltry napoleon. 

After luncheon I called on the Consul-General 
and Mrs. Stanton to take leave; they were very 
amiable, and after a long chat on Egyptian matters 
we parted. When I came home I received a visit 
from Lieutenant-Colonel Arendrup, on the staff of 
General Stone, a very amiable young Dane who 
came to Egypt for his health, and being poor (as he 
himself confessed), had accepted service under the 
Egyptian Government. He was most interested in 
my journey, and took the liberty of asking me to 
tell him about it. He was quite modest and un- 


assuming, so fearful of giving offence, and so 
thankful for even the brief information that I at 
first gave him, that I warmed to him, and showed 
him my pictures, and had a long agreeable chat. 
[It is sad to have to relate that this promising 
young officer fell a victim in the ill-fated Egyptian 
expedition into Abyssinia in 1875.] 

I have borrowed from Mr Young, Murray's 
" Handbook " of the Holy Land ; in it I find a 
notice of Aly ibn " Aleciu," who, instead of being 
a Moslem commander, was a Dervish. So I was 
right in calling him a "saint." You will see his 
tomb and mosque at " El Haram" in Route 23 from 
Jerusalem to Nazareth by the sea-coast, the first 
station from Y&fa on the way to Caasarea. Messrs. 
Creyke and Nay lor, who sat beside me at dinner, told 
me that they were going to Akaba, and should visit 

March 6. — The mail is in, and I have your letters. 
I shall start for Alexandria and England to-morrow, 
as I am longing to be home. I must confess that 
I am disappointed in not having had a little more 
attention paid me here ; but I am known to be now 
no longer a rich man, and no one cares much for 
poor men. I have settled with Abu Nabut, paying 
him for thirty-nine days £195, and giving him 
and Hashim very good certificates. 

Alexandria, March 8, 1874. — At length, my 


dearest Milly, I come to my last letter from Egypt. 
I left Cairo yesterday, travelling with Colonel 
Stokes, who is returning home. We go together to 
Brindisi, whence he proceeds to Rome. He is a 
very agreeable companion, and we had a pleasant 
journey. Before leaving Cairo I met Lord Clarence 
Paget in the reading-room, who took leave of me 
in a very friendly way, asking me to call on him in 
town. He seemed much delighted with my pam- 
phlet, even though I had not found a " volcano " — 
all the better, perhaps, he said. 

Professor Brugsch has been calling on his Lord- 
ship at Hie hdtel within the last few days, yet he 
has not called on me according to his promise. 
Colonel Morrieson, with a friend of his, and I went 
to the Museum to take a last look at the monu- 
ments again. I there saw young Brugsch, who is 
curator, and he showed me his brother's hiero- 
glyphical grammar. He says his brother is writing 
a history, which will soon be out. 

When I came back from Boulak I found General 
Stone had called upon me. He has come too late. 
I sent him in return my P.P.C. Hashim accom- 
panied me to the station, where I found old Abu 
Nabut waiting to see me off. I gave the old fellow 
a napoleon bakhshish, for which he was all 
thanks. Since I arrived I have been calling upon 
all my good friends here to say good-bye, and 


lunched with Captain Roberts, manager of the P. 
and 0. 

In the evening I was interviewed by the cor- 
respondents of some newspapers, and a couple of 

March 9 : On board the "Sumatra." — On coming 
on board I found M c Killop Bey, who has been made 
a Pasha, within the last fortnight He is a fine 
fellow, a jolly English sailor. I was very glad to 
see him, and he me ; and I was pleased to have 
the opportunity of expressing to him, in person, 
my gratitude for all he had done for me with respect 
to the steamer, and we took a very friendly leave 
of each other. Yesterday some of the passengers 
on landing were thoroughly drenched. To-day the 
sea is nothing to speak of, or we should not be able 
to leave the port. 1 

1 "The great improvement which calls for accomplishment [as 
instanced by Dr. Beke at page 149] is the removal of the reef that 
burs the entrance to the port of Alexandria. Its existence ought no 
longer to be tolerated. Shipping to the amount of 1,300,000 tons 
enters the port every year. The exports amount in value to thirteen 
millions sterling. The imports come to five millions. The harbour 
works, which are near completion, when finished will have cost two 
millions and a half, and the conveniences then offered will put 
Alexandria next to Marseilles, Trieste, and Genoa in the rank of 
Mediterranean ports. Yet no ship can enter the port after nightfall, 
and all vessels of considerable draught cannot enter at all either by 
day or night in stormy weather. Alexandria Bay is five miles 
across ; but as you near the harbour you find shoal water almost 
everywhere, across which for more than a mile stretches the new 
breakwater. The real deep-water channel, the only passage for large 
ships, is not 100 feet across, and has the additional drawback of 
being very circuitous. Its depth is only 27 feet, so that in rough 


Our vessel started at 1.30 p.m. I have a cabin 
entirely to myself, and in this, as in everything 
else, the officials of the P. and 0. Company have 
shown me every kindness and consideration, of 
which I cannot speak too highly, or sufficiently 
thank them for. Colonel Stokes tells me that, 
when dining at General Stanton's, some words I 
let drop led them to suppose I was a German long- 
settled in England ; but on the way to Alexandria 
together, something led me to speak of my family 
as being an old English one ; so Colonel Stokes 
tells me that, on arrival at Alexandria, he wrote to 
Stanton informing him of their mistake. How funny 
things are ! My name and my German scholarship 
have led many others into the same mistake. It 
is certain I never voluntarily caused the error ; on 
the contrary, I am too proud of my birth to dis- 
avow it, or to mislead any one with respect to it. 

weather vessels of deep draught dare not venture in for fear of 
touching the rock in the trough of the sea. Barely a month ago, . 
during a forty-eight hours' gale, the Austrian Lloyd and English 
mail steamers, and several merchantmen, dare not venture out of 
harbour ; while four large vessels, tossed about outside in the offing 
for thirty-six hours, and the English turret-ship " Rupert, 11 actually 
put back to Port Said rather than venture in. A careful survey has 
been recently made by a skilful English engineer of the amount of 
rock it would be necessary to remove in order to widen and deepen 
the channel sufficiently to permit entry and exit at all times and in 
all weathers. The work required proves by no means insurmount- 
able. It is said that a tithe of what has been spent on the harbour 
would make its entrance safe, and it seems penny wise and pound 
foolish not to take the matter in hand at once."— See u The Timu? 
Feb. 1, 1878. 


March 1 2. — In consequence of the rough weather 
we shall not reach Brindisi till the evening. How- 
ever, you will get this letter on Monday morning ; 
and if I can only manage to catch the Sunday 
morning train from Venice to Turin, I hope I shall 
sleep at Turin, and start for Paris on Monday 
morning, so that I may possibly be with you on 
Tuesday night. 

March 13, Brindisi. — The mails and passengers 
landed last night after I was gone to bed. At 
about midnight I got your letter: the cuttings 
from " The Times " of Holland, Wilson, and Pal- 
mer's letters are very amusing. What a funk they 
are in ! They have not a leg to stand on, what- 
ever may be the fate of my Mount Sinai. What 
does Wilson mean by " Kas Sufe&feh " ? Is it the 
same as Holland's " Jebel Musa " ? I feel sure that 
I have been successful, if only in demolishing the 
traditional Mount Sinai, and setting people to look 
at things in a proper light. I forward this letter by 
one of the passengers who is going direct to Turin 
this afternoon, as otherwise it would not reach you 
till after my arrival. Now, God bless you I Have 
courage, and all will go well, I am confident ! 
Thus ends the narrative of my expedition in search 
of the true "Mount Sinai." 

" Gloria Tibi Domine ! " 



(See pp. 305-400.) 

Geological Notes* on the Peninsula of Pharan, North- 
western Arabia, and 'Mount Sinai* (Mount BAghir). 
By John Milne, F.G.S. 

The journey, of which the following is an account, was made in 
company with the late Dr. Beke in quest of the true Mount 
Sinai, which mountain he placed in North- Western Arabia, about 
95 miles in a north-easterly direction from the district in which 
it has hitherto been conjecturally considered to exist 

Owing to the rapidity with which the country visited was tra- 
versed, it would be impossible to connect with accuracy the 
various observations which were made ; and therefore, rather 
than attempt to construct a series of sections showing the rela- 
tion of the various formations to each other, I have considered 
it better simply to indicate the conditions as observed at various 
points, leaving it for those more conversant with the geology of 
these districts to connect the following fragments with those 
already accumulated. For assistance in the determination of the 
rock-specimen 8 collected, of which .77 are described (22 of which 
were examined microscopically), I have to thank Mr. Thomas 
Davies, F.G.S., of the British Museum. 

District visited. — From Suez we went by sea to Ainunah, 
which lies in the north-east corner of the Red Sea, and then on 
to Akaba, touching almost daily at some point or other along the 
coast From Akaba we took camels, and journeyed some twenty 
miles in a north-easterly direction up Wady Ithem, in the direc- 
tion of Petra and Ma'an. This was the furthest point of our 
journey. On again reaching Akaba, instead of returning to Suez 

* The specimens referred to have teen presented by the late Dr. Beke'a 
desire to the British Museum. 


by sea, as we had come, we reached it by crossing the elevated 
desert plateau of the Tin. 

Bos Sheikh el Baitan, — This place is about 50 miles south from 
Suez, on the coast of the [traditional] Sinaitic Peninsula. Here 
the hills, which are approached from the coast by about a mile of 
a gradually sloping sandy plain, are granitic. All the way from 
Suez the coast on either side is bounded by high and rugged 
hills, in general appearance very similar to these. Being desti- 
tute of vegetation, there has been no check to the effects of 
disintegration; and these mountains, which probably would 
have been more rounded in their outlines had they been pro- 
tected by trees and herbage, now rise in bold and often almost 
perpendicular cliffs, contrasting strongly with the rounded 
granitic outlines seen in many parts of the British Isles, especi- 
ally in Cornwall. Looking at these hills from a distance, they 
appeared as if built up of so many triangular slabs which had 
been laid over the surface of some pre-existing hill. The tops or 
apices of these slabs pointing upwards give rise to innumerable 
peaks, forming prominent serrations on the ridge and rough 
points upon the sides. The granite is of a greyish colour, and 
consists chiefly of quartz and a black mica, little felspar being 
present These mountains are cut by numberless dykes, which 
are generally nearly vertical, but yet often intersect each other 
at small angles. Looking at these from the coast, they appear 
as so many well-defined broad red or dark-coloured bands. At 
this place, Bas Sheikh el Battan, the red bands were felsites, 
whilst those of a dark colour, which varied from a black to olive- 
green, were felspathic porphyries. The two might easily be dis- 
tinguished by blows of the hammer— the former being hard and 
compact, and having a clear metallic ring when struck ; whilst 
the latter, being much decomposed, sounded dull, aud readily 
crumbled. In places some of these dykes were filled with small 
cavities containing a white glassy mineral, which in several cases, 
having dissolved out, gave to the rock a vesicular structure. 

Iu width these dykes vary considerably; those examined 
varied from 6 to 1 2 feet 

Lying on the sand about a quarter of a mile from the foot of 
the mountains, there are some curious slabs of sandstone from 
three to six feet square, made up of readily separable laminae of 
J to I inch in thickness. These slabs are hard, brittle, slightly 
calcareous, of a gritty siliceous structure and nearly white. They 
probably come from beds of the so-called Libyan Sandstone, of 
which there is an exposure somewhere near this place. 

Dr. Beke tells me that, when travelling from Tor towards Suez 
along this coast, he passed over a surface of fine sandstone like 


the one just described, on which there were numerous tracks 
of birds' feet apparently as fresh and perfect as if only just 

Here the curious forms assumed by drifted sand could be well 
observed. When sailing along the coast, from high up between 
sloping walls of granite bounding the valleys, the sand can be 
seen descending like a glacier. Every gorge and valley is filled 
from side to side with it; and from high np, at a narrow ter- 
minus where the sides of granite approach each other, there is a 
sloping even surface which comes winding down until it merges 
in the plain below. 

As at this point there was no valley, the glacier-like form did 
not exist, but in its place were long winding sandy ridges running 
from the foot of the hills and terminating abruptly in the plain 
some 50 or 100 yards from their origin. A section at right angles 
to the length of one of these, would give two sides sloping 
upwards at about 45°, meeting at an angle some 12 or 14 feet 
above the ground. Running up these two faces there are parallel 
lines very similar to regularly-formed ripple-marks, which give 
the surface a corrugated appearance. The curious point, however, 
is that the ripple-marks on one side of the mound alternate with 
those on the other ; that is to say, where the crest of one ripple- 
mark running up the side of the monnd reaches its ridge, there 
it meets with the hollow of a ripple-mark on the opposite side, 
in this way causing the ridge to be a regularly-formed waved line. 

Similar structures to these mounds of Band I have seen in 
Iceland built up of ashes, but on a much larger scale. Those on 
the north-east- side of Godalands Jokull, are ridges half a mile in 
length running from the top of the hills down to the valley below, 
and have a striking resemblance to some huge railway embank- 

Tor. — A short distance before reaching this place the high 
range of granitic hills which borders the coast gradually grows 
lower, and finally disappears in the sand. Many of the dykes in 
them are approximately parallel, and those which are not vertical 
dip towards the south. As this range of hills, which from the 
map appears to be called Jebel Gabeliyeh, dies out, another range 
rises in the rear, which as it proceeds southwards approaches the 
sea-board, from which at first it is some 15 or 16 miles distant. 
The highest of these, Jebel Serbal, 6734 feet, has, amongst others, 
a claim to be the true Mount Sinai. Between it and the sea 


come down to the shore, form small cliffs from 20 to 30 feet in 
height. These mounds, which are made up of sand, imbedded 
masses of coral, and a variety of shells, are apparently a drift 
accumulation — an idea suggested by the imperfect condition of 
the shells and the irregular manner in which they appear to be 
thrown together. 

Shcrm. — At page 396 of Mr. Poulett Scrope's work on volcanoes 
it is stated, on the authority of Burckhardt, that there is a proba- 
bility of the existence of volcanic rocks at Sherm. Burckhardt, 
when speaking of this district in his ' Syria* (page 522), says, 
" The transition-rock, which partakes of the nature of greenstone 
or grauwacke or hornstone and trap, presents an endless variety 
in every part of the peninsula ; so that, even were I possessed of 
the requisite knowledge, to describe them accurately would try 
the patience of the reader. Masses of black trap much resembling 
basalt compose several isolated peaks and rocks ; " and at page 529, 
he continues, " From Sherm we rode an hour and a quarter among 
low hills near the shore " [towards AkabaJ " Here for the first 
and only time I saw volcanic rocks. For a distance of about two 
miles the hills presented perpendicular cliffs, formed in half-circles, 
and some of them nearly in circles, none of them being more than 
from 60 to 80 feet in height ; in other places there were appear- 
ances as of volcanic craters. The rock is black, with a slight 
reddish tinge, full of cavities, and has a rough surface ; on the 
road lay a few stones which had separated themselves from above. 
The cliffs were covered by deep layers of sand ; and the valleys 
at their foot were also overspread with it It is possible that 
rocks of the same kind may be found towards Has Abu Moham- 
med ; and hence may have arisen the term black (fitXata o^ij), 
applied to the mountains by the Greeks. It should be observed 
that low sand hills intervene between the volcanic rocks and the 
sea, and that above these, towards the higher mountains, no traces 
of lava are found, which seems to show that the volcanic matter 
is confined to this spot." 

Of these remains of an extinct volcano or volcanoes the only 
trace obtained was the picking-up of a few pieces of volcanic 
breccia, as will be seen from my notes on the neighbourhood, 
which unfortunately, from want of time, relate only to the 


From this place to Ras Abu Mohammed, the most southern 
point of the Sinaitic Peninsula, there is an absence of the granitic 
rocks, which keep some 6 or 7 miles back from the coast-line, 
their place being supplied by low hills and cliffs of limestone and 
sandstone. On the east side of Sherm harbour, the cliffs, which 
are about 50 feet in height, are formed of sand, capped with two 


horizontal beds of yellowish white limestone. These latter, 
which are about 14 feet thick, are full of irregular cavities, and 
are in fact rather a breccia of shells and cord than a compact 

The beds of sand, which in places appear to dip at about 12 
towards the south, although compact, are much too friable to be 
called a sandstone. They are of a yellowish red colour, and in 
places are formed of quartz grains as large as peas, giving the 
character of a grit. Intercalated with them is a band about six 
inches wide, of rounded and angular pieces of flint, quartz, and 
granite, Masses of limestone, having fallen from the beds above, 
form a protection against disintegrating forces, which rapidly tend 
to undermine them. Passing from these cliffs round the harbour 
in a northerly direction, across the entrance to a wady running 
to the north-east, steep banks of sand are met with, which continue 
to its south-west side. These are generally of a yellowish colour ; 
but in one or two places they were of a fiery red. At several 
points there are indications which might be taken for horizontal 
i. oands of a black colour, forming a cap to these banks of sand ; 
where these do not exist their remains are seen in taluses of black 

Want of time prevented a close examination of these ; but 
judging from the numerous fragments of black stone lying on 
the beach, it would appear that they were in part, if not wholly, 
of volcanic origin. Generally speaking, they were compact, fine* 
grained, of a black colour, and even in their texture. Under 
the microscope, however, they were distinctly seen to be a 
volcanic felspathic breccia (probably doleritic particles cemented 
by a triclinic felspar) — a condition which, from external appear- 
ances, would never have been suspected, unless from a slight 
irregularity on the weathered surfaces of the specimens. With 
them were a few fragments of a coarse-grained black rock, 
consisting of quartz and felspar cemented by limonite, which is 
distinctly a breccia 

To the west, behind these banks of sand, low hills with 
rounded outlines run from north to south, which have a definite 
stratification and dip towards the north. 

The cliffs of Ras Abu Mohammed, lying to the south-west, 
are about 90 feet in height, and are apparently composed of the 
same coral limestone as that forming a cap to the sand at Sherm, 
with which they also agree in the direction of their dip. 

Inland from the cape there is a curious round hummock-shaped 
black hill. 

From Sherm our course was close along the shore of the 

2 L 


Sinaitic Peninsula, along which nothing bat ragged hills of 
granite and "dunes" of sand were visible. 

At the entrance to the Gulf of Akaba we sailed due east to 
Ainunah, the approach to which was for many miles guarded 
by innumerable coral reefs, on which the soundings were seldom 
over two fathoms. At Ainunah, excepting a few palm trees and 
the remains of an aqueduct apparently of Boman origin, there is 
but little of interest. The hills, which are very high, several of 
them being upwards of 7000 feet, are a day's journey or more 
distant from the coast About halfway towards them there is 
a long low white scarp, forming the flank of a range of hills or 
a low plateau, which is probably limestone. The remainder of 
the country is flat, and slightly undulating, being for the most 
part covered with stones ana sand; notwithstanding which, 
relatively speaking, it is very fertile, many bushes, acacias, and 
small date-palms being visible. 

Between this place and the entrance to the Gulf of Akaba 
there are many islands, all of which, judging from their similarity 
in appearance to those examined, are made up of a whitish lime- 
stone dipping at a low angle towards the east 

Madidn [Midian].* — The first place landed at inside the-Gulf of 
Akaba was Madian, up to which point both sides of the gulf are 
bounded by bleak and bare high hills of granite. Here there is a 
Beduin village, situated on the sea-board at the termination of a 
valley or wady coming down from the east This valley at its 
mouth forms a boundary line between two sets of lithologically dif- 
ferent rocks. On the right or south side is a granite, whilst on the 
left or north side there are beds of sandstone and conglomerate. 

The granite, which is more or less of a reddish colour, is in 
such a decomposed state on its surface, that at a short distance 
it would be readily mistaken for a soft sandstone. Even in the 
more solid parts, when struck with a hammer it readily falls into 
angular pieces. Its texture varies considerably, being both fine 
and coarse ; but in all parts the felspathic element predominates. 
The striking feature in this rock is the number of dykes by 
which it is traversed. These, generally speaking, have a strike 
from north to south, and a dip at a high angle of 80 or 85° 
towards the east 

In all the granite hills of these regions, there are visibly two 
classes of dykes, which are distinguishable from each other by 
their colour — black ones, which are generally dark-coloured 
coarse-grained porphyries, and red ones, which are for the most 
part pink felsites or fine-grained porphyries. Both of these are 
much disintegrated, but the former more so than the latter. On 

* See Dr. Beke'a description of Midian, p. 332. 


an east and west section about a quarter of a mile in length, out 
of eleven of the dark-coloured dykes, only two stood up to form 
peaks ; the remaining nine, being softer than the granite, were 
cut down so as to form hollows and heaps of debris. 

About half a mile up this valley, upon its south side, a bluff 
about 30 feet in height rises perpendicularly from the top of a 
large mound. This appears to show a junction of the granite 
and conglomerate; but the two externally appear to be so 
merged into each other that it is difficult to draw a marked 
line between them. The top of the bluff is covered with two 
horizontal bands of sand and rounded stones about six feet in 
thickness. On its southern aide, beneath this cap there is a face 
of decomposing felspathic granite, traversed by greenish- coloured 
dykes, which include within themselves small angular fragments 
probably derived from some earlier-formed dyke which they have 
traversed. Passing round to the east side, there is an apparent 
gradation into red earthy bands, very like a hard clay, which in 
their turn merge on the north side into a brecciated conglomerate, 
which faces the sandstone beds on the opposite side of the valley. 
This conglomerate varies considerably in texture, containing not 
only pebbles, but also large boulders. Facing this bluff, upon 
the opposite side of the valley, which is here considerably 
narrowed, there is a corresponding bluff formed wholly of con- 
glomerate. The upper part of this, which is made up of a coarse 
material, the stones it contains being as large as a cocoa-nut, lies 
un conformably upon a bed of finer material 

This lower bed in its upper portions is a gritty sandstone, but 
as it descends it passes into a fine conglomerate. Being much 
softer than the rock which caps it, it is rapidly being undermined, 
and large blocks of the coarse conglomerate from above are in 
consequence continually falling. These blocks, although they are 
made up of similar, if not the same, material as the neighbouring 
granite rocks, form, as far as their durability is concerned, a far 
superior stone— under the hammer the one giving a dull hollow 
earthy sound, and the other a clear sharp metallic ring. 

Passing this bluff to the north side of the valley, we come on a 
gradually sloping plane of sandstone, grit, and conglomerate, the 
surface of which has been worn into a series of round hummock- 
shaped forms, each about four feet in height. Winding in and out 
between these there are smooth narrow channel-shaped hollows, 
looking as if at times they formed courses along which water had 
flowed ; and, in fact, down one of these a small and rapid stream 
of water was descending, at the time of my visit, towards a palm- 
grove which occupies the bottom of the valley. In places where a 
cutting has been made from the valley into the hummocked plane 


of conglomerate and sandstone, the unconformability just spoken 
of is strikingly seen in several outliers, the tops of which are made 
up of conglomerate, which joins in an irregular line the sandstone 
of their lower portions. 

About three quarters of a mile up the valley, on its north side 
there is an exposure, about 40 yards in length and from 20 to 30 
feet in height, which exhibits a curious juxtaposition of sandstone, 
conglomerate, and breccia. 

Not far from the place where this section is exhibited, and on 
the same side of the valley, there are the ruins of a temple called 
by the inhabitants the Mosque of Moses, which for the most part 
is built of large square blocks of a fine-grained and perfectly white 
alabaster. In the bed of the valley there were many large, toler- 
ably angular blocks of this stone, which had evidently travelled 
down from the interior, where the inhabitants stated that at six 
hours' distance there was a mountain or a large hill wholly com- 
posed of this material, which, if like the samples seen, must be 
of an excellent quality for building-purposes. 

A little further inland from this temple, where the valley forks, 
the sandstone crosses to the south side, and there exposes a section 
near 60 feet in height. On the top of this there are some two or 
three feet of the coarse conglomerate, which lie on sandstone beds 
dipping about 4 N.N.W. This sandstone is made up of some 
eighteen or twenty bands of a light yellow, fine-grained, quartzose 
material. Interstratified with these bands are one or two layers 
of an argillaceous shelly material, one of which contains several 
narrow veins of gypsum, each about half an inch in thickness, 
and, lower down the valley, also a decided quantity of common 

Rocks from Median. 

(All these, unlaw specially mentioned, were obtained from dykes traversing; 
the granite. The first four were determined microscopically.) 

1. Basalt, fine-grained, and of a greenish colour. 

2. Diabase, fine-grained, even-textured, dense, and of a blackish green colour. 

3. Diabase, only differs from No. 2 in being slightly greener and of a finer 


4. Diabase, slightly greener than Nos. 2 and 3. 

5. Red Porphyry, compact, fine-grained, with hornblende. 

6. Granite, highly f el spathic, with but little mica, of a pinkish colour. A 

rojk penetrated by dykes. 

7. Granite similar to No." 6, but haying small fissures containing dolomite. 

8. Granite, similar to No. 6, but containing two felspars— one triclinic, and 

the other 01 thoclase. 

9. Granite, greyish and much disintegrated, and thickly traversed by dytca. 
10. Porphyry, a dark-coloured base, thickly covered with small white crystals 

of felspar. 


1 1. Porphyry, like No. 10, but with the felspar crystal* long and acieolar. 

12. Dolerite, with brownish yellow olirine, of a vesicular structure, the cavi- 
ties being in pari filled with carbonate of lime. This was obtained from 
a boolder, of which there are many, all probably haying their origin 
further up the wady to the east 

13. Degraded Basalt* like No. 1, both being found in small angular frag- 
ments in the interior of a dyke on the east side of the wady. 

Madian to Omaiier. — From Madura, continuing northwards 
along the east side of the Gulf of Akaba, the sandstone con- 
tinued for some 4 or 5 miles, but in places apparently pierced 
by the granite, which at one time it probably covered, and 
towards the flanks of which it was now approaching. 

On the west side of the gulf, although the hills were 15 miles 
distant, the dykes by which they were penetrated were distinctly 

As we neared the granite on the eastern side, the sandstone 
gradually sloped up towards it, or, in other words, dipped to the 
south or south-east, suggesting the idea just stated, that at one 
time it wholly buried these mountains which now raise them- 
selves so high above it When we were opposite what ought to 
have been the line of junction of the two, the stratification of 
the sandstone became so broken, and the outline of the decom- 
posing granite so indefinite, that the relation of the two was 
not distinctly visible. The next object of geological interest 
was a flank of Jebel Tauran, which projected as a prominent 
bluff, the face of which formed a high and almost perpendicular 
cliff, through the centre of which was a canon-looking gulch cleav- 
ing it from top to bottom. The height of this, if any reliance can 
be given to a rough calculation based on its altitude as taken by 
our captain, must have been over 2000 feet, which would almost 
put the crevasse-like opening on a par with a Western-American 

Bir d Mdshiyah. — A few miles to the north of this is the head* 

land of Bir el Mashiyah, at which place another opportunity was 

given for visiting the shore. Here there is decided evidence that 

the land of this gulf and, probably in connection with it, that of 

^ , its neighbour the Gulf of Suez, are rapidly rising. 

\l* y Running from the granite hills, which here recede some three 

or four miles from the shore-line, across a gently sloping plane 
which joins them with the sea, there are numerous regularly 
built mounds, like so many partially completed railway embank- 
ments, reaching from the mountains to within half a mile of the 
water's edge. These appear externally to be made up of mate- 
.V' rials derived from the hills from the foot of which they spring ; 

i : < but at several points a white rock can be seen cropping out, show* 





ing this detrital matter to be only a covering. This rock is a 
pare soft lime-stone of coarse texture, on the surface of nearly 
every square foot of which the section of a coral can be seen ; 
but these, along with other fossils collected, remain yet to be 

The only one of these mounds which I had an opportunity of 
examining was about 90 feet in height, and showed an exposure 
of about 30 feet of this limestone, as measured from its base, 
which is about 10 feet above sea-level. From this it would 
appear that there must have been an elevation of at least 40 feet. 

From this place up to Akaba there are many of these old reefs, 
indicated by the numerous white patches which protrude through 
the heaps of dark-coloured debris from the granite mountains, 
most of which are at much higher elevations than the one just 
referred to, some being especially visible on the flat plain near 

In confirmation of these indications of an elevation, I may add 
that Captain Evans, a Commodore of the P. & 0. Co.'s fleet, 
stated to me that in the Gulf of Suez there are reefs which 
twenty years ago could with impunity have been sailed over, but 
have now to be avoided, the two most remarkable of these 
being: — one at the entrance to the Gulf of Suez, where the 
soundings which were at one time 7 and 7I fathoms, are now 
only 3 and 3 J fathoms ; and the other at the head of the gulf, 
called the Newport shoal, where there is a like decrease in 

1 am told that indications of a shallowing of the water in these 
seas may be seen by comparing an old chart with one of recent 
construction ; the origin of it, apparently, can only be accounted 
for in one of two ways — by an elevation of the sea-bottom, or a 
piling-up of drifted materials by currents. 

As an additional proof of this rising of the land, I may quote 
from Dr. Beke the official report of the British Consul at Jeddab, 
on the Arabian Coast, who says, "the sea on that coast is 
gradually receding, owing to the formation of coral reefs," the 
geological interpretation of which is evidently that the coast-line 
is being elevated. 

That such elevations and perhaps oscillations should take 
place is not unnatural, considering the wonderfully volcanic 
nature of the adjoining peninsula of Arabia, examples of which 
may be seen in the Trachonitis of Wetzstein or the Hauran of 
Burton and Drake in the north, and the many traces of varied 
volcanic phenomena from the shores of the Persian Gulf in the 
east to Jemen in the south-west In addition to these already 
known localities, it may be stated, on the authority of Yakut, 



the Arabian geographer of the thirteenth century, that many, 
although once chronicled, now remain to be rediscovered. No 
less than 28 harras, or volcanic districts, are described and their 
position identified by him, all of which are to be found in the 
highlands and interior of the peninsula. The list of these is 
as follows : — 

Harra of Aut&s. 

Takda or Nudka. 

Harra of Abbad. 
























Banu Hilal. 

Referring to the above list I may quote the following para- 
graph from Dr. Beke's pamphlet, ' Mount Sinai a Volcano ' : — * 

" Among the numerous volcanoes found to exist within the 
Arabian peninsula, the only one known to have been in activity 
within the historic period is the Harrat el Nar ('fire-harra') 
situate to the north-east of Medina in the neighbourhood of 
Khaibur, in about 26 30' north latitude, and 40 east longitude ; 
which, besides being traditionally said to have been in an active 
state six centuries before Mohammed, had actually an eruption 
in the time of the prophet's successor, Omar. To the north-west 
of this ' fire-harra' lies that known as the Harra of (the tribe of) 
Udhra : again, to the north of this, is the Harra of Tabuk, so 
called from the station of that name on the Hadj road from 
Damascus to Mekka, the position of which is about 28 15' north 
latitude and 37 east longitude ; and beyond this last, further to 
the north, and consequently between it and the northernmost 
Harra of the Eadjil, or Trachonitis, is the Harra Radjla." 

Rocks from Bit d M&shiyah. 

(These are all taken from dykes. The first two hare been determined 


1. Diorite, a greenish-grey compact rock, the character of which is almost 
entirely disguised. 

* Published by Tinsley Brothers, London, 1875, p. 12. 


2. Felsite with epidote and chlorite, Id general appearance this is a compact, 

fine-gTained, light-green rock, not nnlike an epidosite. 

3. Porphyritic micaceous granite. The base of this, through which large 

white crystals of felspar are disseminated, is irregular in texture, being 
mostly composed of small flakes of a dark-coloured mica. 

4. Porphyry consisting of a compact, dark purple base, and well-defined 

crystals of pink orthoclase. 

Omaidcr to Akaba. — Opposite to Omaider on the Sinaitic side, 
flat-topped outliers are to be seen capping the granite. These 
are of a yellowish colour and apparently soft, and at this place 
show a regular stratification, dipping 3 or 4 towards the north. 
In the distance, between gaps in these hills, a lone flat-topped 
mountain or edge of a tableland is visible, apparently composed 
of the same material as the outliers, which afterwards proved to 
be a soft whitish limestone. On the west coast these outliers 
are more or less continuous up to the head of the gulf, whilst 
on the east side there is only the granite and its long heaps of 
debris stretching down towards the shore. Looking at these 
outliers from a distance, it is at once noticed that the granite 
surface on which they rest is invariably flat, showing that it had 
been planed down to an even surface before the deposition of 
the superincumbent beds, which in their turn, by the comparison 
of the flat tops they now cover with the adjoining serrated ridges 
of granite, which at one time it is probable that they also over- 
spread, show the immense amount of denudation that has been 
going on since their removal. 

WadyAraba (see figs. 1 and 2). — When within five or six miles 
of Akaba, the relation of this gulf to the broad and open valley 
of the Araba, leading northwards towards the Dead Sea, is strik- 
ingly observable. Although upon the east and west the ground 
is high, before one (to the north) it is so level that it is almost 
impossible to indicate the point at which the sea and land meet. 
Looking up this trench from the south, in the distance the 
mountains upon the right and left appear to grow lower, until 
by sloping downwards they finally vanish in two points upon a 
line forming an horizon for earth, sea, and sky. 

Looking at the map, it will be seen that the Gulf of Akaba 
forms one extremity of a long north-and-south hill-bound trough, 
the other extremity of which is beyond the Lake of Gennesareth, 
at the northern end of the valley of the Jordan, a distance of more 
than 200 miles. An east-and-west profile across this trough, taken 
a few miles above Akaba, is represented by the eastern end of the 
section (fig. 1). 

When standing in it you appear to be in an almost flat valley, 
about five miles in width, having no perceptible rise towards the 




3 ■««*+■*«■»*- 






north, but to the east and west rising gently towards the flanks of 
precipitous granite hills, its deepest portion, which is marked by 
a northand-south line of vegetation, being nearer to its western 
side than to its eastern, as shown in the section. By actual ob- 
servation, however, it appears that the boundaries, which are 
apparently hills, are only the serrated edges of two tablelands, 
which on either side rise about 2000 feet above the sea — broadly 
speaking, the western one being chiefly granite capped with lime- 
stone, and the eastern one being granite capped with sandstone 
and conglomerate. The consequence of this is, that the high 
mountains, as seen from Akaba and the Araba, are from the 
tableland comparatively low hills. 

Taking a section from south to north, from Akaba up the 
Araba, through the Dead Sea and up the valley of the Jordan 
past Gennesareth (fig. 2), it will be seen that the greater portion of 
the surface of this ground is below the level of the sea, and all that 
separates the Dead Sea, which is in a depression about 1300 feet 
below the neighbouring oceans, from the Gulf of Akaba is a 
slight rise of from 200 to 500 feet. 

Therefore, should there have been an elevation of the land in 
operation, as appears to be indicated, it is very probable that at 
no very remote geological period the Gulf of Akaba extended 
many miles further to the north, having been bounded on its 
east and west sides by the before-mentioned high tablelands; 
and should this ancient gulf be restored (which would apparently 
be an engineering work far less difficult than the recently-con- 
structed trench between Suez and Port Said), Jerusalem, Damas- 
cus, and other Syrian towns would again be in communication 
with the Indian Ocean, and fleets like those of Solomon might 
ply up and down the now entirely deserted Gulf of Akaba. 

The section illustrating this depression (fig. 2), which will 
explain itself, is only an approximation, and is here used to add 
my observations to similar ones that have been made by others 
on this singularly interesting depression. 

Akaba. — At Akaba (fig. 2), as at many other places, the granite 
is traversed by so many dykes that they could not but take part 
in the formation of peaks. Their general direction is in a parallel 
line towards the north-east, and at a high angle of inclination to 
the south-east. 

Behind Akaba, two good analogous sections are to be seen on the 
eastern side of Wady Araba, at the entrance to a small wady called 
Wady Ithem [Etham]. The surface of the ground through which 
these sections are cut commences about half a mile from the sea, 
and terminates at a distance of a little over a mile, sloping at an 
angle of about 3 up towards the mountains. The distance apart 


of these sections at their upper or eastern -end, where they are 
about 30 feet in height, is about 100 yards, and at their lower or 
western end, where they merge into the sloping plane through 
which they are cut, about half a mile. 

Looking at these generally, they consist of a mass of earth, 
pebbles, and boulders, lying on the denuded edges of granitic 
rocks and felspathic dykes. The pebbles and boulders are of the 
same nature as the rocks on which they lie ; and at the eastern 
end of the sections near the mountains it would appear that the 
pebbles, and especially the boulders, are not only larger but also 
more angular than those a mile farther away. 

The mode of accumulation of the upper stratum of alluvial 
material is strikingly shown at several points along the section. 
The material, starting from the mountains (which at one time 
probably extended a short distance westwards), through various 
causes, but chiefly that of gravity, gradually travelled down the 
slope towards the sea. On coming to a hollow it steadily filled it, 
the stones of each layer rolling over their predecessors until the 
original slope was regained, the result of which has been to 
give, at different points along the section, several groups of 
radiating bands. 

The granite is of a pinkish colour, and consists chiefly of felspar 
and a little quartz, whilst the mica is barely visible. It contains 
numerous dykes, which vary from dark green to olive-green in 
colour. At the junction of several of these with the granite, and 
running through them both, are flakes of white carbonate of lime 
about J inch in thickness, and having a glistening crystalline 
surface which fill up joints in the rock. All the rock containing 
this carbonate of lime (not only the dykes but also the granite) 
crumbles under the hammer like a dry clay, whilst at the distance 
of a yard from the dykes, where this carbonate of lime does not 
exist, the stone is hard and compact, and when struck gives a 
sharp clear ring. 

Rocks from Akaba. 
(The first three of these were examined microscopically.) 

1. Dolerite, large-grained, containing some aeicnlar crystal*, which are 

probably apatite. This is an even-grained compact rock of a reddish- 
grey colour. 

2. Dolerite similar to No. 1 ; bnt the felspar is more degraded, and the 

rock itself of rather a darker colour. 

3. Syenite with altered hornblende, orthoclase, a little triclinic felspar, 

mica and quart*. In general appearance the rock is very like Nos. 1 
and 2. 

4. Granite, of a pinkish-white colour, and with a scarcity of mica. From 

the vicinity of a doleritic dyke. 

APfENDlX. 539 

5. Granite, consisting of white and pink fotapBc, mica, and quartz. 

6. Granite, with chlorite, and fissures filled with crystalline calcite. 

7. Granite with more chlorite than No. 6. 

From Akaba our journey eastwards was confined to Wady I them 
[Etham] and the various wadies and plains which branch out of it 

General appearance of Mountain-Wadies. — These wadies, winding 
in and out between the granite hills, may be described as narrow 
defiles of great length. They vary in width from 100 yards to 
half a mile, and wind in and out between almost perpendicular 
walls of granite, making the approach to every turn or bend in 
their course appear as if it were a terminus. 

Under foot are large boulders, stones of various sizes, small 
pebbles and sand, giving the place the appearance of a dried-up 
channel, which formed the bed of some large and rapid river. 
On inquiry it was found that no body of water ever flowed down 
these defiles — a fact that might have been anticipated by observing 
that the beds of grit and sand were cut through by small channels 
not 6 inches in depth, instead of being left, as would have been the 
case in a river, in one flat stone-covered surface. Whilst amongst 
these mountains, I experienced three days of continuous rain, after 
which I did not see anywhere more than the faintest trickling of 
water — from which fact, in conjunction with others, I think we 
may conclude that in these wadies there are conditions very analo- 
gous to those of river-beds, but that in their formation water has 
played but little part. 

Another striking phenomenon of these wadies is the presence 
of perfectly perpendicular walls of debris, which often form boun- 
daries upon both right and left. 

These walls vary considerably in their height ; sometimes they 
are only 1 or 2 feet in height, but generally from 6 to 10 feet, 
whilst in many places, by actual measurement, they were from 
30 to 60 feet, and occasionally even still higher. The lower ones 
(which are more generally met with) are formed of greyish gritty 
sand and small pebbles, and, as compared with the higher walls 
made up of sand, stones like cocoa-nuts, and large boulders, are 
of a noticeably fine material — the former looking like a face of 
Roman cement, and the others like a conglomerate. 

The most striking point, however, about these walls, especially 
in those about 6 or 10 feet in height, is the almost perfect and 
unbroken square edge they form with the plain from which they 
descend, these clear edges being in lengths varying from a few 
yards up to 100 yards. Comparing the various walls together, 
it is seen that these several characters depend upon the fineness 
or coarseness of the materials of which they are composed ; and 
it may. be generally stated that their length, their fine finish, 


and the squareness of edge they form with the upper plain, vary 
inversely with their coarseness, whilst their height varies directly ; 
the coarser the materia], the higher the wall. In taking a section 
transversely to the length of one of these wadies, we may obtain 
a step-like outline descending from the mountains on either side ; 
but more generally the form obtained is that of two rapid slopes 
from the hills, each terminating in a wall, leaving between them 
the level central part of the wady 9 described as being in some 
respects analogous to a river channel. This central channel, in 
which the boulders, which are often of great size, are found 
lying in heaps and lines parallel to the bounding walls, may 
vary from 50 to 200 yards in width. From the same characters 
being often seen in opposite walls, it is probable that before an 
initial slope was formed, down which water and materials in 
general would tend to travel, they were joined from side to side. 

Their growth into the truly perpendicular forms which they 
now present, evidently arises from the materials of which they 
are built up being so regularly disposed that there is nothing 
left to produce unequal disintegration ; that is to say, a dis- 
integration commenced at any one point is at once or very 
rapidly carried in a perpendicular direction equally over the plain 
in which the commencement of the disintegration took place, the 
materials being so loosely placed together that for support they 
are mutually dependent ; take one particle away and its neigh- 
bour falla This cliff-formation is strikingly seen in the lower 
and more common of these walls, which are made up of pebbles, 
grit, and sand. On attempting to walk within a foot of the 
upper edge of one of these, a vertical layer separates from the 
top of the wall and falls to form a conical heap below, which is 
afterwards removed by wind and water. In nature, however, 
instead of an external pressure acting on the upper surface, a 
similar result is produced by the action of the little water which 
occasionally trickles down these wadies, and still more by the 
almost continuous working of a sand-drift along the lower portion 
of the face of these walls, by which they are slightly under- 
mined. When sufficiently undermined in this way (seldom more 
than 6 inches), the unsupported material above, having little or 
no lateral attachment to the contiguous mass, of necessity falla 
After a little rain this action is strikingly rapid, the slight bond 
between the particles being loosened by the soaking-in of the 

As these walls are cut further back and approach the hills, the 
mass of material in which they are formed being thicker, they 
are naturally higher, in addition to which it may be noted that 
they are also coarser and have lost much of their smooth finish, 


which latter character is apparently due to the larger masses of 
which they are built up having more hold upon each other, one 
of them not moving without disturbing its neighbour. 

Had the materials of which these walls are built been inter- 
laminated or cemented in any way, no portion of it could have 
given way without disturbing that which was contiguous to it, 
by acting on it as a cantilever. 

This may be looked at generally by considering cliffs or walls 
the component parts of which are so arranged that their greatest 
length lies in a horizontal direction. In such walls, where we 
get this horizontal interlamination, whether of massive bands of 
rock, fissile shales, or only layers of stone, on their being under- 
mined, generally speaking, no portion of them can give way 
without disturbing those parts with which they are in contact, 
especially those lying above, which, cantilever-like, they tend to 
prize upwards and then cause to fall outwards, this outward 
tendency being aided by the material from above slipping down 
over that which has fallen from below. The result of this is the 
production of a slope, instead of a clear perpendicular wall, such 
as is produced by the direct fall of an uncemented fine material. 

The unbroken edges of these cliffs, although in part due to 
the nature and arrangement of the material of which they are 
formed, are also in part due to a cause similar to that assigned 
for the unworn edges of some of the American canons, namely, 
the comparative absence of rain — the little that does fall being 
hardly sufficient to affect those of coarse material, whilst those 
made of fine material are immediately soaked, and the under- 
mined portions at once fall instead of remaining to be channelled 
down with gutters. 

It has been observed that the great heaps and long lines of 
boulders, so often seen in the centre and other parts of these 
wadies, can hardly be thought to have assumed their rounded 
forms and to have come into their present positions bv the 
agency of water (which at first sight is so suggestive both as a 
motive power and also as a polishing agent), the district being 
riverless and also, comparatively speaking, rainless. 

The reason of their waterworn appearance is apparently in 
great part due to the cutting effect of an almost perpetual sand- 
blast ; but the cause of the central position they so commonly 
occupy is not so obvious. It may have been acquired by their 
having simply rolled down the sides of the mountains when they 
extended further into the wadies than they do at present ; but in 
many cases it is probable that the descent was far more gradual. 
Whilst riding along the base of some of the cliffs of sand and 
conglomerate just described, on looking up, long lines of boulders 


were often seen waiting to be undermined and to fall below. 
Many could be seen that had fallen, whilst others were barely 
balanced and ready to topple over on the least disturbance. 

Each time one of these falls it travels a certain distance for- 
wards ; and as cliffs are continually being formed in the centre 
of the wady to work back towards the hills, steps are continually 
approaching these boulders, down which they may roll and 
approach the central line of cliff-formation, where those from 
one side of the valley meet, stop, and accumulate with those 
coming from the opposite side. 

Such modes of transit as these may be suggestive in account- 
ing for the presence of erratic blocks so often seen not only in 
various parts of Arabia, but also in other countries, as, for ex- 
ample, in Persia, where they have been seen to have travelled 
distances of five and six miles — in certain cases, perhaps giving 
a clue to those phenomena which otherwise might have found a 
satisfactory solution either in a coat of glaciers or a sea of icebergs. 

In the cases quoted large blocks have apparently travelled dis- 
tances of a quarter of a mile by the breaking down of about a 
hundred feet of modern alluvium. How far, it may be asked, 
would blocks have travelled had the strata measured thousands 
instead of hundreds of feet 1 

With regard, therefore, to the general appearance of the beds 
of these mountain wadies, it may be briefly stated, in conclusion, 
that their characters are, in the main, rather due to a stream of 
sand than to water ; small furrows formed in the central parts of 
the wady retreat towards the hills by being undermined and then 
falling by their weight. By this failing, boulders, often 20 feet 
in diameter, are rolled forward, and strewn across the plain from 
the hills towards a central line in which they accumulate. Whilst 
all this is going on, an almost continuous draft of air up or down 
these funnel-like defiles is in operation, carrying sand to polish 
the scattered debris, thus helping in the production of appearances 
not unlike those of some ancient river-bed, in which action it is 
aided by a slight trickling of water after the winter showers. 

SancLUasL — Having spoken of the movement of sand as an 
agent in the undermining of cliffs and the polishing of rocks, 
although, perhaps, often before observed by others, I may here 
mention what was seen of its other effects in these districts. 

A great portion of the country lying between Nakhl and Suez 
is covered with a thick superficial deposit of fine reddish sand, 
which, like all other sand, is set in motion whenever there is the 
slightest movement in the air. 

This, although an almost perpetual action, is only to be seen 
under very favourable circumstances. By placing yourself so 


that the sandbank, or piece of ground yon are observing, is 
between yourself and the sun, a slight smoke-like vapour, which 
from other positions would be invisible, is to be seen sweeping 
over the surface of the ground. The presence of this drift may 
also be recognised by placing the face within 10 or 12 inches of 
the ground, when fine particles of sand will be seen rolling along 
over each other ; and on putting the ear near to these a slight 
rustling noise may often be detected. 

By taking a flat piece of wood and using it as a straight-edge, 
I made several practically level patches of ground, on which I 
was enabled to see the action of the drift in the formation of 
ridges. Although when standing up no movement in the sand 
could be detected, yet on stooping down I perceived that ridges 
were being formed, not simultaneously over the whole surface, 
but commencing to windward. The crest of each of these small 
undulations appeared to be invariably covered with the redder 
particles of sand, whilst the yellow ones were left in the hollows. 

In the case of larger ridges, which were about 6 inches in height, 
their crests were composed of the larger particles, which, as far as 
colour was concerned, could not be distinguished from those form- 
ing the hollows. Small movements of this description are con- 
stantly going on; but in a gale, judging from experience, the 
results must be considerably greater. When a moderately heavy 
wind is blowing, it is almost impossible to face the "blast" 
On your hands a tingling sensation is felt; and on lowering 
them towards the ground this rapidly and irregularly increases in 
power until they are within a foot of the ground, when it becomes 
unbearable, the feeling produced being not unlike that occasioned 
by drawing off the keeper of an electro-magnetic machine. 1 

Another and more important action of the sand-drift is the 
cutting of the surface of all stones which are exposed upon the 
desert — a fact which has often before been noticed, and may be 
well exemplified by the Sphinx near Cairo, and two faces of 
Cleopatra's Needle at Alexandria 3 Portions which are buried, 
or otherwise protected, are not cut, the consequence being that 
almost every stone, when picked up, presents two surfaces which 
differ in appearance, one being uneven and rough, whilst the 
other is pitted and polished. In the district especially referred 
to, near Nakhl, where the stones scattered in the desert are 
chiefly limestone, the definite character given to them by this 
sand is such that it could not be seen without being remarked. 

1 See Dr. Beta's description of the violent storm at Akaba on the night of 
February 6th, 1874, chap. viii. 

* Lately brought to England, and now about to be erected on the Thames 


All have a peculiar polish, looking as if they had been smeared 
with grease, a lustre nearly represented in the fractured surface 
of some specimens of witherite. 

In addition to this, they are all, more or less, pitted with small 
cup-shaped hollows, which apparently indicate the softer portions 
of the stone. Some few have cut upon their surfaces curious 
worm-shaped furrows; whilst others have exhibited such dif- 
ferences in hardness that their softer portions have been so far 
cut into and carried away that the remainder is as ragged in its 
outline as the root of a tree, for which in many instances they 
might readily be mistaken. 

Should these stones hereafter become completely buried, as 
many already are, future investigators will find in them marks 
as clearly indicative of their origin as the rounded forms of water- 
worn pebbles or the angular and scratched faces in beds of glacial 
drift Just as we infer from the latter the existence of former 
glaciers, so will they infer the former presence of deserts and 

Bocks from Wady Ithem (the first five of these were examined 
microscopically) : — 

1. Diabase, dark greenish in colour, compact and tough. 

2. Diabase, more compact than No. i, from which it also differs in 

containing a small quantity of disseminated iron pyrites. 

3. Dolerite, blackish green, dense and compact 

4. Hornstone, whitish green, compact, crystalline, traversed by fine fissures 

containing carbonate of lime. 

5. Dolerite, greenish grey and compact. 

6. Granite, pinkish in colour and with little mica. 

7. Felsite, pinkish in colour, containing a very little hornblende. 

8. Porphyry, a pinkish base, with white crystals of felspar and a very 

little hornblende. * 

9. Porphyry, differs from No. 8 in being slightly darker in colour. 

10. Granite, greyish in colour, of a coarse texture, and somewhat por- 


11. Granite, pinkish in colour, with bronze-coloured mica. 

12. Porphyry, of a pink colour, with hornblende. 

13. Prophyry, differs from No. 12 in being of a greenish grey colour. 

14. Porphyry, fine-grained and without hornblende. 

15. Granite, consisting of felspar, mica, and very little quarts. 

16. Granulitic granite. 

17. Quartz-porphyry, of a pinkish colour. 

18. Porphyry, of a bluish grey colour. 

19. Syenite, of a dark-green colour, containing very little quartz, and very 

little hornblende. 
2a Porphyry, pinkish grey and fine-grained. 
21. Porphyry, with hornblende. 

With regard to the granitic hills lying between Akaba and 
Petra, as they have so many points in common, a description of 
one of them may, in many respects, suffice for the remainder. 





■V) qw«w*tT pq»f 













The one selected is Mount Baghir, 1 also known as Jebel-e'-Nur 
or the " Mountain of Light," which by Dr. Beke has been identi- 
fied as the True " Mount Sinai " (see fig. 2). 

This mountain, which is situated on the east side of Wady Araba, 
and on the west side of Wady [Etham] I them, which it overhangs, 
is about 100 miles in a north-easterly direction from the tradi- 
tional Sinai, and 1 2 miles from the fortress of Akaba. In its 
general outline it is bold, terminating in three well-defined small 
peaks, which distinguish it from the surrounding hills. Measured 
from the plain, out of which it rises, it is about 3000 feet in height, 
or about 5000 feet above sea-level. It consists of a mass of red or 
pinkish granite, which in places where it is much weathered is of 
a dark brown hue. In those places where disintegration has 
been at work, the felspar and lighter mica have to a great extent 
been washed away, leaving a rough gravelly surface of quartz, 
which crumbles under the feet. This granite contains compara- 
tively but little mica ; and in places it merges into quartz and 
massive felspar alone. On the north-west side of the mountain 
a portion of the granite looks at a distance like a coarse brownish 
yellow sandstone, weathering with rounded surface, in which 
many cavities can be seen, generally about the size of a cocoa- 
nut. In several large boulders of this rock these cavities have so 
increased in size as to be now represented by small caves, one of 
which was about 20 feet in diameter and 10 or 12 feet in height 
at its entrance, sloping down with a dome-shaped roof and curved 
sides towards the back. No angular forms are visible, which 
shows that the granite has flaked off in curved laminae. On striking 
this rock with a hammer it has not the clear ring of a solid stone, 
but gives a dull sound, owing to the surface being so disintegrated 
and having the tendency to split off in flakes, which can easily be 
separated with the sharp edge of the hammer. 

The peaks on the summit of this mountain are composed of 
granite ; the hollows between them mark the position and direc- 
tion in which the mass is traversed by dykes ; and it may be 
stated as a general rule for this mountain, that the dykes do not 
protrude above the granite, but all tend to produce hollows. 
One exception to this, however, was seen on the N. E. side of the 
mountain, near a well, where a dyke formed a clearly-defined 
ridge running up towards the summit These dykes, which are 
generally of a dark green colour, vary in width from 1 foot to 18 
feet, and perhaps more. When struck with a hammer, in many 
places they appear to be quite earthy, crumbling up like dry clay. 
The general direction of these and others in the neighbouring 
mountains is from between north and east to some point between 

1 See Dr. Beke's description, chap, viii., p. 380. 

2 M 


south and west, often striking in long parallel lines across ridges 
of the hills. 

Bocks from Jebel Baghir (Sinai), (the first three of these were 
examined microscopically) : — 

i. Dolerite, much decomposed, of a dark colour, loose texture, and a 
greyish exterior, owing to the weathering of the felspar. 

2. Dolerite, portion of a compact, hard nodule, taken from the interior of 

the dyke of which No. i formed part. 

3. Diabase, passing from porphyritic to aphanitic. The rock is black and 

dense ; no structure is observable. 

4. Granulitic granite, a fine-grained mixture of quarts and felspar, with 

finely distributed mica. 

5. Granite, fine-grained and pinkish. 

6. Mica and felspar, with very little hornblende, the whole forming an 

irregular greenish mass. 

7. Granite, of a pinkish colour. 

8. Granite, nearly all felspar. 

Dykes. — The prominent part taken by dykes in giving the 
characteristic ruggedness to these granite hills has already been 
partially noted, as will be seen from the following observations 
of Dr. Oscar Fraas, ' Aus dem Orient/ where, at page 15, he 
says, " When on the summit of Serbal, in a circuit of about 1000 
metres, rather more than less, I counted from our pinnacle 47 
peaks, or, as might be plainly seen from those which were 
nearest to us, so many dykes of diorite which stood above the 
mass of granite. In the course of the incalculable ages during 
which these points had been exposed to the atmosphere, they 
had offered a different resistance to the weathering than had the 
granite with its felspars; and therefore as many diorite teeth 
stood out from the granite bed of Serbal as you could count 
points on the mountain.' 1 

From the observations made on these dykes at the various local- 
ities visited, which in part are confirmed by the specimens col- 
lected, it would seem that they may be divided into two classes — 
those of a red colour, and those of a dark green or black. 

As a general rule the former are the harder of the two, and 
stand up as ridges which can be seen running up the sides of the 
mountains, and over their crests, or else appearing only as peaks, 
but in all cases producing serrations ; whilst, on the other hand, 
the latter are generally soft and form trenches and hollows where 
the red ones would have formed ridges and peaks. Exceptional 
cases are to be seen where the black dykes are hard and have re- 
sisted degradation ; but in the case of the red ones no exceptions 
were seen. 

Both classes of these dykes, like the granites they traverse, are 


highly fetopathies, the red ones being generally compact felsites or 
fine-grained porphyrites, whilst those of a darker colour are gene- 
rally porphyries in which small crystals of felspar are imbedded 
in a dark-coloured base. 

Traversing several mountains near to Jebel-e'-Nur, and notice- 
ably one called Jebel At&ghtagleh, there are large dykes 12, 14, 
and even 20 feet in width, almost wholly composed of a soft 
material ; yet, through having hard exteriors, they stand up so 
as to form a well-defined wall-like ridge. Through being thus 
composed of a soft central part or core cased in between two slabs 
of a harder material, disintegration has acted more rapidly on the 
interior portion than on the exterior, and has cut them out into 
a trench. 

Up one of these trenches I ascended Mount Ataghtagfeh (see 
fig. 2). The dyke was throughout of a dark-green material, out 
slightly lighter in colour on its sides than in the middle. Its 
width was about 12 feet ; 6 feet of the central part was soft and 
crumbled like dry clay when struck with the sharp edge of a 
hammer, whilst the 3 feet of casing on either side into which it 
graduated was hard and tough, in fact much more so than the 
granite through which it pierced. 

The result of examinations of different portions of such dykes 
as these is given in the following list of rocks from Jebel 
AtAghtagieh, from which it would appear that the interior por- 
tions of these dykes are apparently more siliceous, contain more 
olivine, more magnetite, and are decidedly more calcareous than 
the exterior portions ; but as these and other similar specimens 
are intended to form the subject of a future investigation, the 
present statement must be received provisionally. 

Rocks from Jebel At&ghtagieh (the first four of these were exa- 
mined microscopically) : — 

1. Qoartsiferous dolerite, from the exterior of a dyke, of which No. 2 is 

the interior. This is a dense, olive-green-coloured rock, readily 
scratched by a knife to a light-green streak. 

2. Quartsiferous dolerite from the interior of a dyke, of which No. 1 is 

the exterior. This is of a reddish colour and more granular than 
No. 1, from which it also differs in being decidedly calcareous and 
magnetic, and apparently containing more olivine and quarts. 

3. Basalt from the exterior of a dyke, of which No. 4 is the interior. 

This is a compact and almost black, even-textured rock, and is 
slightly calcareous. 

4. Dolerite, much degraded, from the interior of a dyke, of which No. 3 

is the exterior. This is a greenish grey, loose-textured, granular 
rock, which is decidedly calcareous and also magnetic 

5. Pinkish granite, through which the above dykes penetrate. 

6. Porphyry, red crystals in a green base. 

7. Porphyry, of a greyish colour, containing acicular crystals of hornblende. 


8. Porphyry like No. 7, but with large crystals of hornblende. 

9. Porphyry, a compact felsitic mass. 

10. Porphyry, darker-coloured than No. 9. 

11. Porphyry, fine-grained and of a lavender colour. 

Geological Formations. — When on the top of Mount Baghir, on 
looking from the north, by the east, round to the south-east, flat- 
topped hills were seen which from their shape were at once sus- 
pected not to be granitic,- or, if granitic, to be capped by some 
other material This conjecture was confirmed by visiting the 
top of Mount Ataghtagieh, on the summit of which there are two 
large patches of sandstone, each about 100 feet in thickness, which 
have apparently been deposited subsequently to the formation of 
the granite. The beds, which are nearly horizontal, have a 
parallelism with the gentle undulations of what appears to be the 
denuded surface of the granite on which they rest In no place 
does the granite appear to penetrate into the beds above, or in 
any way to break their even line of stratification ; nor, on the 
other hand, does the sandstone descend into any crevices or 
irregularly eroded cavities in the granite. The lower beds of this 
sandstone, which are about 3000 feet above sea-level, are composed 
of a coarse quartzose material very like that which would be de- 
rived from granite after the washing away of the lighter ma- 
terials. The remaining beds higher up, with the exception of a 
bed near the summit, which is of a perfectly white, fine-grained, 
soft sandstone, are composed of a yellowish gritty sandstone. 

Although carefully looked for, no organic remains were to be 
found. Scattered over the top of the mountain were some com- 
pact dark-coloured rocks, probably the remains of a dyke cutting 
through some neighbouring mountain from which they have been 

To the east and north of this mountain there were many flat- 
topped hills ; and the beds, which here only formed caps, appeared 
in the distance to form the hills themselves, the cliff-like faces of 
which showed curious barrel-shaped outlines. This same forma- 
tion, resting on the granite, is to be seen at the head of Wady 
Amran, where it stretches away eastwards towards the centre of 
Arabia, and southwards towards the somewhat similar beds which 
were seen at Madian. 

It has been asserted, on very good grounds, that in this portion 
of Arabia there are still remaining evidences of several once active 
volcanoes. Should these be discovered, they will in all proba- 
bility be found amongst the sandstones on the eastern side of the 
great Arabian watershed ; for had they existed on the western 
side, some traces of them must have been seen in the beds of the 
wadies which so rapidly descend towards the Red Sea. 


Akaba to Suez (see fig. 2). — The northern end of the Gulf of 
Akaba having its shores bounded by granite hills, the consistency 
of which is tolerably equal throughout, the disintegration carried 
on by the sea has not tended to produce such an irregular out- 
line as would have been formed had there been more variety in 
their character. At the north-western part of the gulf, however, 
between Has el Musry (Mahaserat) and Jezlret Flr'6n there is a 
slight exception to this. Here some soft limestones coming down 
to the coast between granite hills have been cut back to .form a 
small bay, whilst their boundaries stand out as two small head- 
lands. The rock composing these points is greyish in colour 
and granitic nature, but varies considerably both in tint and 
texture. Opposite to Jezlret Fir'dn, or Pharaoh's Isle, it is 
somewhat pinkish, and contains well-formed plates of mica, of 
the size of a shilling, and even larger. 

The limestone, which dips about 15 to the north-east, is in 
parts quite white ; but the bulk of it is of a yellowish tinge. 
Near the granite, against the sides of which it evidently rests, 
there are beds of a strikingly bright pink colour. In places on 
this exposure, which is about 800 feet in thickness, it shows itself 
like a compact chalk; whilst in other parts it is earthy, but 
contains interposed bands of solid stone from two to four feet in 

In the cliffs near Has el Mahaserat there are beds of irregularly 
shaped flints and fossil remains, of which only a fragmentary 
specimen of an Echinus was collected. The valley up which 
these limestones run, called Wady Mahaserat, is identified by Dr. 
Beke as being Pi-ha-hiroth or " the entrance to the caves," traces 
of which are to be seen a few miles distant from the shore. 

Leaving the Gulf of Akaba at its north-west extremity, the 
Hadj road, on which the pilgrims to and from Mecca annually 
travel, rapidly rises, being bounded on its north and south sides 
by long narrow reddish-coloured heaps of debris, made up, not 
only of granitic rocks, but also of fragments of limestone. A 
short distance beyond this the termination of these mounds is 
found in some reddish granitic hills, which for the most part are 
apparently porphyritic. 

At about an elevation of 1000 feet you enter the upper part of 
Wady Mahaserat, bounded on its western side by the continuation 
of the same range of limestone rocks seen between Ras el Maha- 
serat and Jezlret Fir'dn, dipping in apparently the same direction 
as before, 15 N.E. 

The rock itself is compact in appearance, very like a hard 
chalk, and contains many fossil remains, portions of Echini, 
Peciines and Ostrea being common. 


On the east side of this valley are much-decomposed granite 
rocks, of ill-defined reddish and greenish colours, which merge 
from one to the other. Those of a reddish tint are felsites, and 
are, as usual, harder than the dark-green porphyries which they 
occasionally traverse. 

Rocks from between Akaba and the Tih Plateau : — 

1. Quartz porphyry with a green felsitic base, through which oryatali of 

porphyry are disseminated. 

2. Red porphyry. 

3. Brown felsitic quartz porphyry. 

4. Reddish brown porphyry. 

5. Light-green porphyry. 

6. Reddish purple porphyry. 

7. Porphyry like No. 6, but with white crystals of felspar. 

8. Basalt* of a dark green colour and thoroughly degraded. 

9. Red quartz porphyry. 

10. Greenish grey porphyry, much decomposed. 

11. Altered pyromeriae, of a yellowish colour, and with a mammillated 


A short distance further up this wady, at an elevation of 
about 1200 feet, the road suddenly turns to the left through a 
narrow gorge of chalk cliffs, and then ascends by a steep, zigzag, 
artificially formed pathway to the plateau of the Tih. 

Both on the right and left side of this defile good exposures 
of cliff-sections are to be seen, in which there are several 
inaccessible cave-like openings. The rock, as before, is lithologi- 
cally a chalk, containing numerous bands of flint. 

These bands, which can be broken out in large slabs, the upper 
and lower surfaces of which are gently rounded into smooth 
undulating surfaces, average about four inches in thickness, 
and occur at about the same distance apart Although they can 
be detached in large fiat masses, through the number of vertical 
cracks by which they are traversed, they split into fragments 
when struck. 

On the surface of this chalk rock, in one or two places, a slight 
efflorescence of common salt can be detected — an indication, 
perhaps, of the existence of larger quantities in the neigh- 

About 80 or 100 yards up the gorge the chalk rocks suddenly 
terminate, and abut against the almost perpendicularly down- 
turned beds of a yellowish rusty-looking limestone, the juncture 
of the two apparently marking the line of a N.N.E. fault. 

In these yellow limestones flints were seen, and fragmentary 
fossil remains were common. All exposed surfaces of this rock 
are much eroded and weathered. In several large blocks which 


had fallen from some bands in the upper portion of this cliff-like 
exposure, small crystals of brown oxide of iron (pseudomorphs 
of iron pyrites in combinations of the cube and octahedron) 
were common. 

At an elevation of 1800 feet, or 600 feet above the gorge, a 
bluish grey, compact, fine-grained limestone is met with, in 
which numerous sections of Nerinaea are to be seen. A few 
small cavities, filled with minute scalenohedral forms of calcite, 
indicated the existence of other fossil forms. 

At 2000 feet there is an exposure, about 40 feet in thickness, 
of yellowish earthy bands, containing narrow veins of gypsum 
from one to two inches in thickness, forming a cap to the NerinoBa- 

From this there is a descent of about 100 feet into a small 
open plain, in which there are numerous exposures of a pinkish 
red (or pale maroon-coloured) sandstone. In the portion examined 
this was made up of a fine-grained quartzose material,, containing 
a small quantity of lime, probably derived by infiltration from 
the calcareous beds with which it is so closely associated. One 
exception to the colour of these beds was seen in a soft and 
friable yellow band. The left side of the road, which is here in 
part an artificial formation, is built up of blocks of red sandstone, 
which were obtained in large, regularly squared, oblong masses 
by undermining several overhanging beds upon the right In 
these red beds, as might perhaps have been anticipated, no trace 
of organic remains could be seen. 

On nearing the summit of the tableland of the Tih, which by 
barometrical observation is about 2000 feet above the sea-level, 
a view looking down into a north-and-south gorge showed the 
relation of the red sandstones to the limestones before described. 
Upon the east flat surfaces of limestone were seen dipping sharply 
towards the east ; and from these scarps, and especially from the 
one forming the right-hand wall of this north-and-south gorge, 
it would appear as if they once covered over the nearly horizontal 
sandstones on the left 

Descent of the Tih. — The striking feature of this desert plateau, 
when approached from the Akaba side, is its wonderful evenness 
of surface, which, from the fineness of the material with which it 
is covered, gives it an appearance not unlike an immense expanse 
of gravel walk. This material consists in great part of white 
quartz pebbles, which are intermingled with fine-grained porphy- 
ries and other felspathic rocks derived from some low peaks several 
miles away to the north. About eighteen miles across this flat 
country, at Turf er Rukn, the track enters between low hills 
forming the southern boundary of this great tableland, the sur- 


face-contour of which, at this point, is represented by the letter 
V, the arms of which form a shallow trough-like drainage-area, 
one arm trending N.W. towards the Mediterranean, and the 
other to the N.E., towards the southern continuation of the Dead 
Sea, whilst the apex of the two is to the south. 

Turf er Rukn, which is continued towards the north as a low 
and almost imperceptible rise of ground forming the water-parting 
between the Y-shaped arms of the Tih, further to the south, rises 
about 400 feet above the plain as a long scarp of yellow limestone. 
Near the foot of the southern end of this scarp there is a small 
exposure of a yellowish sandstone, and also indications of a band 
of siliceous haematite running in a direction about one point to 
the south of west. This ore is easily distinguished by its dark 
colour, which contrasts strongly with the light-coloured sand on 
which it lies. 

Beyond this, upon the right or north side of the road, there are 
some low ridges consisting of bands of limestone dipping towards 
the north. Intercalated with these bands are layers of flint which, 
on their exterior, very much resemble some dark-coloured portions 
of the rock in which they are imbedded. 

This character of country, of limestone scarps on the left, and 
low ridges on the right, through which occasional glimpses of the 
great plateau of the Tih are to be seen, continues for nearly a 
day's journey. 

After passing Jebel Duppa, the ranges on the right, growing 
higher, show a more definite character as compared with those 
upon the left. Whilst the latter remain horizontal, the former 
are almost turned on end, dipping at an angle of 45 ° to the north. 
They consist of limestones which are whitish at their base and 
yellowish near their summit With them there are bands of flint, 
which, being tilted up with the rock in which they are stratified, 
stand up along the ridges of the hills, forming low parallel walls 
to hollow troughs. Numerous angular and apparently freshly 
broken fragments of these flints are strewn over the plain below, 
apparently broken by the more or less sudden expansion and con- 
traction occasioned by the great variations in temperature, this 
action being probably aided by a jointed structure in the flint at 
the time of its removal from the limestone. That there are such 
variations in temperature may be inferred from the fact that many 
nights when we were in the desert the thermometer sank below 
zero, and shrubs and other objects were in the morning covered 
with a thick coating of hoar frost, this low temperature being 
invariably followed shortly after sunrise by a heat that readily 
scorched and peeled the skin from the faca 

In addition to this it may be mentioned that several rounded 


and apparently whole flints were seen, which, on being touched, 
fell to pieces, showing them to have been broken by some force 
that had not been violent in its action, but had simply divided 
them and not scattered the fragments. 

Materials being in this way continually supplied from a moun- 
tain, then being broken by the sun and afterwards buried in the 
sand, may perhaps give a clue to the origin of certain breccias. 

At the western end of this range there is a large and well- 
defined wady stretching away to the north-west into a low undu- 
lating country of chalk-like rocks. At the entrance to this there 
is a small, solitary hill of chalk resembling an island, and show- 
ing the steep northern dip which characterises the rocks along 
the southern side of this portion of the Hadj road. 

At less than a mile past this a cutting has been made through a 
hill composed of fine-grained and perfectly white chalk, which 
gives a small but clear section of this rock, showing on its walls, 
and also in the ground over which you walk, a great continuity 
of bands of flint. 

Looking at the upturned edges of these bands upon the floor of 
the cutting, in places they are seen to have been divided and then 
reunited, forming cavities which are filled with a material in ap- 
pearance like the surrounding rock. At several points along the 
walls of these cuttings numerous irregular, coral-like concretions 
stand out, through the weathering away of the softer material 
which once surrounded them. 

On the left-hand side of the road, it appeared as if the upturned 
chalky strata just referred to abutted against the horizontal yellow 
limestone which forms a more or less continuous ridge from Turf 
er Rukn to this point 

From the summit of any of the hills upon the right an extensive 
view of the greater portion of the Tih plateau is to be seen. Be- 
yond the low water-parting which separates the drainage of the 
Mediterranean from that of the Dead Sea, towards the north and 
north-west, are broken scarps of white rock, probably of the same 
kind as the hill on which you stand, showing numerous pyramid- 
like peaks and short ridges, at least 14 or 15 miles distant These 
cliff-like forms are continued round to the north-east, but in this 
direction are apparently not only higher but much further away, 
being apparently 25 or 30 miles distant, and forming a terminal 
scarp to the southern extremity of Negeb or the South Country. 
The most conspicuous object is Jebel Baredj, bearing about 
W.N.W. With a glass several hard horizontal bands could be 
seen standing out, forming small scarps intermediate between the 
peaks of its conical summit and the sloping talus below. 

In a direct line south from this mountain there is a uorth-and- 


south section, showing an anticlinal of limestone dipping at a high 
angle to the N. W., and to the S.E. being completely turned oyer. 

After passing Bir el Kureis (a large artificially formed well, 
holding a continuous supply of water for the use of the Hadj 
pilgrims, which is sunk in the bed of a shallow wady of the same 
name), the road gradually ascends, through the range forming the 
southern continuation of Jebel Baredj, into Wady Dritt Here 
the low scarps which bound either side of this low valley, exhibit 
an extremely fine-grained white carbonate of lime, in texture much 
superior to the bulk of our English chalk. 

From Wady Dritt to Nakhl, the halfway station between 
Akaba and Suez, the country, which gently descends, is generally 
flat, the even contour being broken only by a few white scarps 
upon the right and left, and some shallow wadies which cross the 
road at right angles. These wadies of the desert are shallow, 
basin-like trenches, which, although they mark the line of drain- 
age by the few bushes they contain, are very different from the 
well-defined river-like wadies seen amongst the mountains. 

A few miles on the Akaba side of Nakhl there are several small 
but bold hills of chalk, the most conspicuous of which is Jebel al 
Kheimatein or the " two tents," so called from its shape. The road 
near this mountain is crossed by several veins of crystallised carbo- 
nate of lime about 6 inches in thickness, which, being more durable 
than the chalk through which they pass, stand up in bold ridges. 

Nakhl to Suez. — From Nakhl the road towards Suez gently rises 
about 150 feet through a gap in the summit of the range of hills, 
which are seen to run like a line of white chalk cliffs from west 
to north. From this point a day and a half is spent in crossing 
a wide and open shingly plain traversed by a few north-and- 
south shallow wadies, until Wady Hawawiet, descending from 
Jebel Hutan, is reached. 

On the south side of the entrance to the wady there are horizontal 
bands of limestone projecting through slopes of debris, about 350 
or 400 feet above the surrounding level. The rock has here lost 
its chalk-like appearance, and is a compact limestone. Near the 
foot of the wady many Ostrece and other fossil forms are observed ; 
and at about 300 feet above the plain there are bands almost 
wholly made up of a small Echinus, varying in diameter from f 
inch to about i\ inch. At about 350 feet the summit of the pass 
is reached, from which point there is an almost continuous 
descent towards Suez, the rocks dipping about 15 to the S.S. W. 
Mr. Etheridge considers that these bands are probably of Miocene 

Whilst descending on the Suez side of the hills down Wady 
Sagarah, the Echinus-bed is again passed. In places the lime- 


stone, which contains irregular concretions of flinty matter, is of 
a deep red colour, which is due to oxide of iron. 

At Ras el Gibal this wady opens out into a small and fertile 
plain cultivated by the Beduins, on the south- west side of which 
there are ranges of white rock which appear to be Nummulitic. 
After leaving this plain, the whole of the way to Suez is covered 
with hills of drift sand. 

Conclusion. — On account of the hurried nature of my journey, 
it would not be advisable to make any definite statement as to 
the identification of the geological horizons which were passed 
over ; but it will be seen that, on lithological and scanty palaeonto- 
logical evidence, the series of rocks mentioned in the foregoing 
account will bear comparison with the succession summarised by 
Mr. Bauerman as occurring further to the south (Quart Journ. 
Geol. Soc. for 1869, vol. xxv. p. 17). 

The few fossils collected are at present in the hands of Mr. 
Henry Woodward, F.R.S., of the British Museum, who has 
kindly undertaken to examine them. 

With regard to the crystalline rocks, it will be seen that the 
prevailing feature in them is the predominance of the felspathic 
element in the granites and in the dykes by which they are 

It will also be seen that out of the seventy-seven specimens 
examined, only two approximated to a syenite ; nor were there 
any massive hornblendic rocks of this description seen in the 
district visited. In the Journal of the Royal Dublin Society for 
January 1858, there is a communication on a " Mineralogical 
Excursion from Cairo into Arabia Petrea," edited by Professor 
Haughton. Accompanying this there is a collection of rocks 
verifying the observations, from which it would seem that al- 
though syenite does exist in the Sinaitic Peninsula, it does not 
form a predominant feature ; and it is also stated that " all the 
mountains in the neighbourhood of [the traditional] Sinai are 
granite. 1 ' Such being the case, it seems hardly justifiable to 
attempt an alteration in the name of the rock, although syenite 
is not found at Syene on the Nile. 


Controversy on the late Dr. Beke's Discovery of the 

True Mount Sinai in Arabia. 

Mr lamented husbaud arrived at Hastings on the morning of March 
19, 1874, after an absence of three mouths and eleven days, dur- 
ing which period he performed his memorable expedition, at the 
age of seventy-four, in search of the true Mount Siuai, with what 
result has already been shown in the previous pages. 

In order, however, that the public may be able to form a fair and 
unprejudiced opinion as to the value of Dr. Beke's discovery, and 
to come to some definite conclusion on the whole subject, I deem 
it right to place on record the controversy which took place iu the 
public journals at the time. 

In submitting this correspondence to my readers, I would ask 
them to bear in mind that the three first chapters of this work were 
written by Dr. Beke after the controversy was brought to a close, 
and that, therefore, they are the result of an impartial consideration 
of the whole subject. 

Telegram published in the "EcJio" lyth February 1874. 

[The following was communicated to Reuter's Telegram Company 
by the Eastern Telegraph Company] : — 

"Cairo, February 16. — Dr. Beke, the English traveller, reports 
from the Gulf of Akaba that he has found the true Mount Sinai, 
one day's journey north-east of Akaba. It is called by the Arabs 
Jebel-el-Nur, or Mountain of Light. Its height is 5000 feet On 
the summit Dr. Beke found the remains of sacrificed animals, and 
lower down some Sinaitic inscriptions, which he copied." 

Mrs. Beke to the Editor of t/ie " Times" published 19th February 


" In answer to the very numerous kind inquiries which have been 
addressed to me respecting Dr. Beke, I hope you will, with your 
usual courtesy, permit me, through the medium of your valuable 
columns, to offer my sincere thanks for these expressions of sympathy 


in my anxiety, which has been roused by my not having received 
any news of my husband since he left Suez for Akaba in the Khe- 
dive's steamer * Erin ; ' and, further, for the satisfaction of many of 
your readers who are kindly interested in the success of his im- 
portant expedition, you will, I am sure, readily give publicity to 
the following telegram which I am rejoiced to say I have received 
this morning only [18th February] from Dr. Beke, dated * Suez, 16th 
inst : ' — * Arrived safely. All well. I have succeeded in discover- 
ing the true Mount Sinai beyond Akaba, and have ascended to the 
summit. It is a mountain called by the Arabs * Jebel-en-Nur,' or 
' Mountain of Light/ on which the Arabs say ' Qod spoke to Moses,' 
and therefore they stop and pray towards it. I start directly for 
Cairo. The steamer * Erin,' that the Khedive kindly lent me, has 
not yet returned ! ' 

" The delay in the delivery of my telegram is unaccountable, 
especially as I see in the ' Times' of this day a neuter's telegram 
of the same date from ' Cairo.' My husband's arrival in England 
may now be confidently looked for during the first week in March. 
Thanking you very much for inserting this letter, I have," <fcc. 

Dr. Beke to ihe Editor of the " Times" (16th February), published 

2 ith February 1874. 

" On the 28th of January I wrote from Akaba announcing the 
discovery of * Moses' Place of Prayer ' at Madian, on the east coast 
of the Gulf of Akaba, which I identify with the ' Encampment by 
the Red Sea' of Numbers xxxiii. 10. This letter was forwarded 
by the ' Erin ' on her return voyage from Akaba ; but in consequence 
of the severe weather she was exposed to, she had to put in at Tor, 
whence she may be expected to arrive here in a day or two. 

" I am now thankful to be able to report that the object of my 
expedition to discover the true Mount Sinai has happily been 
attained, very much sooner than I could have anticipated, although 
not altogether in the maimer I had expected. 

" As stated in my former letter, we reached Akaba in the steamer 
' Erin ' on the 27th January. 

" We left Akaba under the personal escort of Sheikh Mahommed 
ibn Ijat, the chief of the Aluwiu tribe of Beduins, to whom I 
was the bearer of a firman from His Highness the Khedive of 
Egypt, and proceeded north-eastward up the Wady el-Ithem (the 
4 Etham ' of the Exodus), and encamped in the evening at the foot 
of Mount Baghir, one of the principal masses of the chain of 
mountains bounding the valley of the Arabah on the east, which 
are marked in our maps as the Mountains of Siiera, but of which 
the correct designation is the Mountains of Shafeh ; those of Shera, 


as I have myself seen, being a chain extending from thai of Shafeh 
in the direction from north-west to south-east. 

" My astonishment and gratification may be better imagined than 
described when I learnt that this Mount Baghir is the same as a 
mysterious Jebel-e'-NOr, or * Mountain of Light/ of which I had 
heard vaguely in Egypt as being that whereon the Almighty spoke 
with Moses, and which, from its position and other circumstances, is 
without doubt the Sinai of Scripture ; although, from its manifest 
physical character, it appears that my favourite hypothesis that 
Mount Sinai was a volcano must be abandoned as untenable. 

" We encamped at the foot of the ' Mountain of Light/ and during 
the ensuiug night we experienced a most tremendous storm, the 
thunder and lightning being truly terrific, some of the claps being 
directly over our heads. The rain fell in torrents during several 
hours, threatening to wash us away altogether. I do not remember 
to have ever witnessed a more violent tempest either in Abyssinia 
or elsewhere ; and its effect on my mind was this — that if the words 
of Scripture that at the time of the Delivery of the Law on Sinai 
'the mountain burned with fire into the midst of heaven, with 
darkness, clouds, and thick darkness 9 (Dent iv. n), with other 
texts which I need not here refer to, are not, as would now appear, 
to be understood as descriptive of a volcanic eruption, still less can 
they be held to describe a mere thunderstorm, however violent, as is 
generally but somewhat inconsiderately imagined. 

" As the climbing part of my expedition necessarily devolved on 
my young companion, Mr. Milne, he, on the following morning, 
ascended the mountain on Sheikh Mahommed's hone, and 
accompanied by the Sheikh's son and an attendant, also mounted, 
and by three Beduins on foot. On his return, shortly after four 
o'clock in the afternoon, he made me a most valuable and interesting 
report, of which I now gladly publish a few heads. 

" The way was at first up a narrow wady, which grows more and 
more narrow till it becomes a gorge. On the road they passed 
a stone on which some inscriptions appear to have been cut, but which 
are now ail defaced with the exception of the words * Ya Allah ' 
(' O God '), in Cufic, or old Arabic characters. Within the gorge 
itself they stopped to inspect another large stone, about four feet long 
and two feet square, made of granite. It originally stood upright, 
about two or three feet away from the side of the gorge, on another 
stone, which served as a pedestal ; but it has now fallen over, and 
rests between its pedestal and the side of the gorge. Near the stone 
the Beduins come to pray; and, according to the statement of 
Sheikh Mahommed, who had heard it from his father, and he from 
his father, and so on, Sidi Ali ibn 'Elim, a noted Mahommedan 
saint, whose tomb and mosque are between Jaffa and Haifa, came 


here also to perform his devotions. What led him to do bo my 
informant could not say, unless he was commanded by Allah. 

" On reaching the gorge, the riders had to leave their horses with 
two of the Arabs, and perform the rest of the ascent on foot A short 
way up they came to a low wall across the gorge, which latter is 
filled with large boulders ; and close above the wall, on the right 
hand, is a well about three feet in diameter and about the same to 
the surface of the water, which may be two feet deep. From this 
point the ascent was a 'climb/ the face of the rock being almost 

" On the ridge on the left side of the gorge, about 150 yards 
distant from the well, is a pile of large rounded boulders of granite, 
consisting of four stones of the material of the mountain, three 
standing up facing the north and one at the back to the south, and 
on all of them are cut inscriptions, which Mr. Milne copied as well 
as his cold fingers would allow him to do so. The stones, which are 
much weather-worn, are externally of a dark-brown colour, against 
which the inscriptions make themselves visible from their being of a 
somewhat lighter colour. The lines of these ( Sinaitic inscriptions ' 
are about three-quarters of an inch broad and very shallow, being not 
more than an eighth of an inch deep. The figures on the stones are 
very rude, and can hardly be phonetic ; neither is it easy to say 
what they are intended to represent 

" On the very summit of the mountain they found numerous sheep 
skulls and horns, with a few bones, it being the custom of the 
Beduins to come up here to pray and to sacrifice a lamb, which is 
eaten on the spot ; but none of the remains appear to be very recent 
It is here, as I was told, that the Almighty is said to have spoken 
with Moses. 

" Before reaching the summit, snow was found in the crevices of 
the mountain, and while Mr. Milne was at the top it hailed and 
snowed, and was so bitterly cold that it was as much as he could do 
to take a few angles with the azimuth compass, and even this he 
could not have done had not his attendants kindled a fire by which 
he might warm his fingers. Tbe elevation of the spot is estimated 
at 5000 feet, but it will be known more accurately when our observa- 
tions on the journey come to be calculated. Though so far distant, 
Akaba seemed just under his feet, but on so diminutive a scale that 
he failed to detect the castle among the date-palm trees, the general 
outline of which alone was visible. In other directions the landscape 
was blocked out by banks of cloud, fog and rain. 

" Mount Baghir — the Mountain of Light — is one of the loftiest 
peaks of the range of mountains on the east side of the Wady-el- 
Arabah and the west side of the Wady-el-Ithem, overhanging the 


" Without dwelling on the geological features of the mountain, of 
which Mr. John Milne's report will treat very fully in my book, it 
will be sufficient to say here that it consists of a mass of pink or 
reddish granite, which, in places where it is weathered, assumes a 
dark-brown hue, and that the granite is traversed by numerous dykes, 
generally of a dark-green colour, and apparently dioretic. 

" On the side of the mountain are many large boulders, several of 
which are so much decomposed on their under sides as to form small 
caverns. One of these was as much as 20 feet, or thereabouts, each 
way across, with a height of 10 feet or 12 feet at the entrance, sloping 
down towards the back. As the existence of a cave or caves on 
Mount Sinai is essential in order to meet the requirements of the 
texts, Exodus xxxiiL 22, and 1 Kings xix. 9, the fact that such 
caves do actually exist on the Mountain of Light is most pertinent 
and important 

" Not less significant is the fact that this majestic mountain is 
visible in all directions, and that round its base towards the east 
and south there is camping-ground for hundreds of thousands of 

" It would be out of place to dwell here on the importance of this 
discovery of the Mountain of Light as regards the elucidation of the 
Sacred History. Its identification with the mountain on which the 
Law was delivered is scarcely open to a doubt. I had imagined that 
mountain to be a volcano. I have publicly declared my conviction 
that such must be the fact, and the journey from which I am now 
returning was undertaken with the express object of establishing this 
assumed fact. I am now bound to admit that this discovery, though 
in strict accordance with the principles enunciated in my 'Origines 
Biblicffi' forty years ago, proves me to have been egregiously mistaken 
with respect to the volcanic character of Mount Sinai I make this 
admission without any reservation, because my desire is, as it always 
has been, to adduce evidence of the historical truth of the Scripture 
narrative of the Exodus, in contradiction to the erroneous interpre- 
tation put upon that narrative which has caused its truth to be 
called in question ; and I should be a traitor to the cause I have so 
much at heart were I to attempt to bolster up my own opinions 
when found to be unsupported by facts. * Great is truth, and 
mighty above all things.' " 

" The Standard," 2&th February 1874. 

" If unlimited self-confidence on the part of a discoverer could 
inspire the public with a general belief in his theories, there 
would be no doubt whatever about the discovery of the true 
Mount Sinai by Dr. Beke. But Dr. Beke's very manly and 


straightforward letter on the snbject supplies us with reasons 
for doubting his conclusions. Says be — 'I had imagined that 
mountain to be a vblcauo. I have 'publicly declared my conviction 
that such must be the fact, and the journey from which I am 
now returning was undertaken with the express object of establishing 
this assumed fact. I am now bound to admit that this discovery, 
though in strict accordance with the principles enunciated in my 
' Origines Biblic® ' forty years ago, proves me to have been egre- 
giously mistaken with respect to the volcanic character of Mount 
Sinai I make this admission without any reservation, because my 
desire is, as it always has been, to adduce evidence of the historical 
truth of the Scripture narrative of the Exodus, in contradiction 
to the erroneous interpretation put upon that narrative which has 
caused its truth to be called in question.' Of the honesty of this 
recantation there cau be no manner of doubt, but when he tells us 
that the identification of the 'Mountain of Light' with the 
mountain on which the Law was delivered is 'scarcely open to 
doubt,' he is liable to be awkwardly confronted with the fact that 
he was formerly just as convinced that the mountain ' must have 
been ' a volcano. Unless he can bring more proofs than his letter 
indicates, the most that can be said to be shown is. that there is 
no insuperable obstacle to the reception of his theory." 

The " True Mount Sinai," published in ti*e " Standard; 9 

2$th February 1874. 

"The ' Daily News' says : — The ' discovery of the true Mount 
Sinai by Dr. Beke, as announced by himself, may disquiet the 
minds of a good mauy people who have been accustomed to regard 
the question as finally and comfortably settled.' They may reassure 
themselves. Dr. Beke's discovery amounts in reality to very little. He 
has found in that little-known country east of the Gulf of Akaba, 
which he, almost alone among men, regards as the scene of the 
forty years' wandering, a hill called the Mountain of Light, which is 
regarded by the natives of the place as that on which the Law was 
given. There were already two other mountains to which the 
same tradition attaches, just as there are two islands on which St 
Paul was wrecked ; so that what Dr. Beke has actually discovered is 
only a third traditional site. It has long been regarded as a canon 
in criticism that all Arabic traditions should be regarded with 
suspicion, and especially those which relate to Moses and Pharaoh. 

" What remains for Dr. Beke to do is to adjust his site to the 
details of history. It will be strange indeed if there turn out to 
be two places, each of which exactly fulfils in its surroundings, as 

2 N 


well as in itself, the required conditions, these being at once minute 
and clear. Until this has been done, and not before, we may begin 
to reconsider the established geography." 

The Rev. F. W. Holland to the Editor of the " Times; 9 published 

$d March 1S74. 

" I was not aware till to-day that Dr. Beke had done me the 
honour to make special mention of me in a pamphlet which he 
published before he started for the East, as his ' opponent' But, 
since he has done so, will you allow me to state that his discovery 
of Jebel-en-Nar has not in the least shaken my faith in Jebel Musa 
as the true Mount Sinai, and that I am quite ready to bring forward 
arguments to disprove his theory 1 But it would be neither fair nor 
wise to attempt to do so until I know further particulars of his 
discoveries than his short telegram conveys." 


Major C. W. Wilson,. R.E., to the Editor of the "Time*," published 

3<2 March 1874. 

" When Dr. Beke left England last year with the avowed inten- 
tion of finding Mount Sinai in the vicinity of Akaba, it was not to 
be expected that he would return empty-handed, and I presume few 
of your readers were taken by surprise when publicity was given to 
his discovery in the rather sensational telegram from Suez which 
appeared in your columns of the 18th. I had not intended raising 
a discussion on the result of Dr. Beke's journey until his return to 
this country, nor do I wish to do so now ; your paper is hardly a 
fitting place for a long discussion which must necessarily enter into 
many minute details, and I will only say now that the members of 
the late Ordnance Survey of Sinai are fully prepared to maintain 
the opinion they have expressed as to the position of Mount Sinai in 
the peninsula of the same name. All the conditions required by the 
Bible narrative are fully met by the identification of Mount Sinai 
with the well-known Bas Sufsafeh, while it remains to be seen 
whether Dr. Beke can say the same of his new discovery ; he has 
still to prove his case, but every one must be glad that he has 
abandoned his ' fire and smoke ' theory, and I must do him full 
justice for the frank manner in which he has cast it to the winds. 

" In his letter published on Friday morning Dr. Beke attaches 
undue importance to the presence of sacrificial remains, a tradition 
relating to Moses, and the existence of Sinaitic inscriptions : had he 
known the country a little better, he would have been aware that 
from Has Muharomed to Petra there are scarcely twenty square miles 


in which a place of sacrifice And tradition of Moses cannot be found ; 
and as to Sinaitie inscriptions, they are sown broadcast over the 
country. I will only add that I have the greatest admiration for 
the energy and faith which led the veteran explorer to go one day's 
journey into the wilderness and find Mount Sinai, and only regret 
that he had not leisure to complete his tour by a visit to the rival 
mountain in the Peninsula." 

Br. Beke to the Editor oftlic " Times" dated Akaba, 2%th January, 
and Mrs. Beke to the Editor of the " Times," published 5</t 
March 1874. 

" In Dr. Beke's letter from Suez of the 16th ultimo, which you 
kindly published in the 'Times' of the 27th ultimo, by which he 
announced his discovery of the ' true Mount Sinai/ he mentioned 
that he had written to you on the 28th of January from Akaba, 
describing ' Moses place of prayer ' at Madian, on the east coast 
of the Gulf of Akaba, which also he has been so fortunate as to 
discover. On his return to Egypt, Dr. Beke found that the little 
steamer ' Erin 1 had not returned to Suez, she having been delayed 
by stress of weather and want of coals, so that his letter to you of 
the 28th of January, which he intrusted to the captain, has only 
now reached me, and I hasten to forward it to you for publica- 
tion : — 

" 'Sir, — His Highness the Kheclive having been pleased to place 
the Egyptian steamer ' Erin' at my disposal for the conveyance of 
myself and party to the head of the Qulf of Akaba, we left Suez 
in that vessel on the morning of January 18th, and arrived here in 
safety in the afternoon of yesterday, the 27th, after a pleasant, and, 
from mj point of view, most interesting and successful voyage of 
tan days. 

" * The run down the Gulf of Suez was without the occurrence of 
anything of moment, but on our passing Has Mohammed — the 
southern extremity of the Peninsula of Tor, the traditional 'Mount 
Sinai'-— we encountered the northerly winds almost constantly 
blowing down the Gulf of Akaba, which during three days and 
more raged with great violence. Fortunately I was desirous of 
visiting Aiyunah, Burckhardt's Ayoun el Kassab, the Hadj station 
on the sea-shore a little way east of the entrance of the Gulf, which 
I imagined to be the € Encampment by the Red Sea 1 of the Israelites, 
mentioned in Numbers xxxiii. 10 ; and by going thither we escaped 
the violence of the storm ; otherwise I fear it might have fared 
badly with our frail bark of only sixty-four tons. 

" ' On our return into the Gulf, as the tempest bad not entirely 


abated, we anchored on the 24th close to the shore at Magna or 
Madian, in 2 8° 23' N. lat., behind a point of land and a reef, which, 
though not a fit anchorage for a large vessel, afforded shelter to the 
little ' Erin,' though we lost here one of our anchors. At Madian 
we had to remain a day, which afforded us an opportunity of going 
on shore and inspecting the place, a camping-ground of the Beni 
Ughba Arabs, numbering about 400 souls. The Sheikh, with the 
main body of the tribe, was away in the interior, a few persons only 
remaining here to attend to the fructification of their numerous date 
palms — it is no exaggeration to estimate them at 1000 or more — 
growing near the beach and along a valley coming from the east, 
in which there is a perennial stream of water. With the date trees 
we saw also several dOm palms, lime, nebbuk, and fig trees ; and 
there were even a few patches of barley carefully protected by 
hedges of palm leaves. 

44 * We were on the point of returning to the ship, when we were 
informed of the existence in the vicinity of a holy spot, where it is 
said the Prophet Mosea prayed, and over which a ' mosque ' had 
been erected. This was stated to be at one hour's distance from 
the shore ; and as with these people's vague estimate of distances, it 
might possibly be much more, and I did not feel myself competent 
to go so far on foot, we went on board to lunch, after which Mr. 
Milne returned on shore, and walked iulaud with a servant and a 
native guide. 

" ' He proceeded eastward up the valley, along the side of the palm 
grove, gradually ascending over a sandstone slope, in places worn 
into hummocks by the water, which during the rainy season finds 
its way down to the sea, and when about half a mile from the coast 
he came to a small stream some three feet wide, running in a chan- 
nel which it has cut in the solid rock. At the point where he struck 
the stream the water runs prettily over the inclined but irregular 
surface of the rock, with a fall, or succession of falls, of about twelve 
feet in all, winding and losing itself among the palm trees. The 
surface of the rock, which is sandstone, in places merging into a 
conglomerate of granite, diorite, and quartz, in stone*, some as large 
as cocoa-nuts, cemented by coarse saud, is here quite clear, so that 
one walks upon the bare rock ; but at a couple of hundred yards 
further up the valley the rock is covered with sand, which ap(>ears 
to be making rapid inroads. So great, indeed, is its encroachment 
on the date plantations that the Arabs have made hedges round 
these to protect them from the sand, which hedges, however, are 
being overwhelmed, and others have, consequently, to be erected 
further in. 

" ' On reaching the end of the palm groves, a mound is seen half as 
high as the tops of the trees, with numerous blocks of white stone 


lying among the sand, and beyond this there is a good view further 
up the valley, along which date palms are seen growing in patches. 
There are also a few ddm palms, one noticeable one overhanging the 
white stones. 

" ' These remains, which, instead of being an hour's journey or more 
from the sea, are at the utmost one mile from the beach, were found 
011 examination to consist of blocks of alabaster, so white and pure 
as at first sight to be mistaken for marble, and only proved to be 
sulphate of lime by its scratching with a knife and by its non-effer- 
vescence with muriatic acid. The blocks are each about three feet 
long and one foot six inches square, and appear to have been worked 
with the tool, though the edges are now much rounded by the 
weather. One of them seems to form a portion of a column. To- 
gether with the blocks of alabaster are some of granite, likewise 
much weathered. As far as a brief and hasty inspection would 
allow an opinion to be formed, these stones appear to lie in two 
parallelograms, ranging from north to south, the one within the 
other, the south end of the inner one being semicircular, and there 
even seem to be indications of a third range of stones further to the 
north. But it is difficult to speak with certainty on account of the 
sand which covers these stones in part and threatens soon to hide 
them entirely. There are several mounds of sand round about, 
which may probably contain other remains. 

" ' This most interesting spot, which requires to be more closely 
examined, is especially important to me, because I now see that 
here, at Madian, and not at Ayuuah, must have been the ' Encamp- 
ment by the Red Sea ' of the Israelites. Its proximity (half a 
day's journey) to Maghara Sho'eib, or Jethro's Cave, which I 
identify with the Elim of the Exodus, and the fact that the stream 
of running water must have some of its sources at or near that spot, 
explain why it should not have been mentioned in Exodus xv. 27, 
xvi 1, as a separate station, much more satisfactorily than I 
attempted in page 38 of my pamphlet, Mount Sinai a Volcano, to 
explain the apparent discrepancy in the two statements of Scripture. 
The ' Encampment by the Red Sea' was simply a continuation of 
that at Elim, with its ' twelve wells of water and threescore and ten 
palm trees, 1 the two together stretching down the valley, with 
its living water, from Maghara Sho'eib, or ' Jethro's Cave, 1 to this 
4 Praying- place of Moses ' at Madian. 

" * As one of my main arguments against the correctness of the 
vulgar indentification of Mount Sinai and other places connected 
with the Exodus of the Israelites is based on the insufficiency of 
local traditions to establish the authenticity of any such identifies, 
tions, it would be inconsistent on my part were I to insist on the 
intrinsic and absolute value of the traditions attached to * Jethro's 


Cave,' ' Moses' Praying-place/ &c. Nevertheless these traditions 
are, at the least, as valuable as any of the others, and their existence 
here on the distant and almost unknown shores of the Gulf of 
Akaba, as well a* that of ' Pharaoh's Island,' within sight from where 
I am now writing, and * Wady Ithem,' the entrance to the desert 
of Ned j id, which I identify with 'Etham in the edge of the wilder- 
ness ' of Exodus xiii. 20, within two hours' journey from this spot, 
all serve to show that there is sufficient reason for my hypothesis 
that this, the Qulf of Akaba, and not the Gulf of Suez, is the Red 
Sea through which the Israelites passed in the flight from Pharaoh 
kiug of Mitzraim. A few days more will, I trust, suffice to demon- 
strate the absolute truth of this hypothesis. — I am, sir, your very 
obedient servant, 

Charles Beke. 
"'Akaba, January 2&A.' 

" In your impression of to-day I see a letter from Mr.' F. W. 
Holland, and one from our friend Major Wilson. The former 
gentleman, although he says he is quite ready to bring forth 
arguments to disprove Dr. Beke's theory, very rightly and kindly 
adds that it would be neither fair nor wise to attempt to do so 
until he knows further particulars of Dr. Beke's discoveries. 
Major Wilson also ..says, ( I had not intended raising a discussion 
on the result of Dr. Beke's journey until his return to this country, 
nor do I wish to do so now.' 

" I trust I may be pardoned for remarking that the contents of 
the Major's letter can scarcely be said to be in accordance with 
the intention this expressed, 

" Dr. Beke will, I trust, be home in the course of a fortnight, aud 
in the meantime I veuture to ask the public to withhold their 
judgment until he arrives with the proofs which I am persuaded 
lie will bring with him of his discovery of the true Mount Sinai. 
I ask this because I am, like Major Wilson, delighted to see that 
my husband does not intend his discovery of the true Mount Sinai 
to end in smoke, but in truth. 

" In Dr. Beke's letter to me from Akaba, he tells me he is 
deeply indebted to the * patriotic and obliging ' spirit of the 
Peninsular aud Oriental Company for their kindness in supplying 
his little steamer * Erin' with the British flag, and for every assistance 
in his preparations for his journey from Suez. 

" I learn that Colonel Gordon left Cairo for Gondokoro on the 
20th of last month, with the intention of proceeding as quickly as 
possible as far as the Albert Nyauza, and, with his Bible for his 
companion and guide, to succeed, or to leave, if necessary, his bones 
in Africa ! " 


Major H. S. Palmer, RE, to tlu Editor of the " Times," 

published Jth March. 

u I fully concur with Major Wilson and Mr. Holland, my late 
colleagues on the Sinai Survey, in their remarks in the * Times ' of 
yesterday on Dr. Beke's alleged discovery of ' the true Mount 

" In Dr. Beke's recently published work he confessed himself 
content to stake his 'reputation as a scholar and a traveller of 
some experience ' on the hypothesis that Mount Sinai was an 
extinct volcano iii the Arabian desert east of the Ghor. Having now, 
to the surprise of no one, abandoned this hypothesis, after but one 
day's march in the desert, and acknowledged himself ' egregiously 
mistaken/ he cannot expect his reputation any longer to stand 
him in much stead ; for his new theory he will have to rely only 
upon arguments and facts. 

" It may be well to remind him that he will need, in the first 
place, to disprove the conclusions to which not alone the late 
Ordnance Survey party have come, but the great majority of 
travellers, both ancient and modern, among our own countrymen, as 
well as foreigners ; and that then, having so far cleared his ground, 
he must produce very different reasons in favour of the new moun- 
tain from those which appeared in his letter from Suez in the 
' Times' of the 27th ultimo, or in anything we have yet seen from 

In the meautime the public will withhold their judgment/' 


Professor E. H. Palmer to the " Academy? published Jth March. 

" Dr. Beke's sensational announcement by telegraph of the ' dis- 
covery of the true Mount Sinai ' may have startled some people into 
acquiescence in his theory, but I can scarcely believe that any one 
who has really considered the question can have regarded the * dis- 
covery' au serieux. Still, an assertion so positively and unequivocally 
made seemed to imply some cogent and decisive arguments in the 
background ; and I must confess that I looked forward with some 
interest to the further detailed explanations promised by the learned 
traveller. These have at length appeared in his letter to the ' Times ' 
of February 27, but, strange to say, we, the advocates of Jebel Musa, 
the old orthodox Sinai, do not feel ourselves so utterly annihilated 
as'we perhaps ought to do. It would be unjust to attack Dr. Beke's 
theories before he is himself upon the spot to state his case and 
answer our arguments ; but while I am, like my fellow-travellers, 
willing to wait until that time, I cannot let such an assertion pass 


entirely unchallenged. Dr. Beke starts with the assumption that 
Mount Sinai is a volcano, and is situated to the east of the Ghor, 
instead of to the west of the Qulf of 'Akaba. Arrived at 'Akaba, he 
selects the first prominent mountain to which some traditional 
sanctity appears to attach, and at once adopts it as his Sinai, with 
the statement that * its identification with the mountain on which 
the Law was delivered is scarcely open to a doubt.' It is not a volcano, 
it is true, but on that point the Doctor naively owns that be was 
1 egregiouBly mistaken.' The reasons which carried this conviction 
to his mind are strangely inadequate. They are : i. That he had 
heard the mountain inquestiou ' vaguely spoken of in Egypt as being 
that whereon the Almighty spake with Moses ; ' 2. That there are 
traces of sacrificial remains on the summit; 3. That 'Sinaitic inscrip- 
tions ' are found there. He appears also to attach considerable 
importance to the alternative name of the mountain — Jebel- 

" Now, as Major Wilson has pointed out in his letter to the 'Times ' 
of the 3d instant, the country ou either side of the Qulf of 'Akaba 
absolutely teems with traditions of Moses, the name of the lawgiver 
being associated with nearly every striking natural phenomenon 
which occurs. With regard to the sacrificial remains, there is scarcely 
a ' high place ' in the desert where the Bedawlu do not offer up 
sacrifices. As for the 'Sinaitic inscriptions,' those which have 
hitherto reached the hands of European scholars are either in 
Nabathean or Greek, and in no case of an earlier date than the first 
few centuries of the Christian era. These again are scattered 
throughout the length and breadth of the desert However, until 
Mr. Milne's copies are brought home, it would be premature to pro- 
nounce upou them. The name * the Mountain of Light' surely points 
rather to SabsBauism than Mosaism, and would in that case satis- 
factorily account for the sacrifices. So much, then, for the importance 
of these alleged proofs of identification; but Dr. Beke says that ' from 
its position and other circumstances the mountain is undoubtedly the 
Sinai of Scripture.' It is here that the crucial test of the soundness 
of the theory may be applied ; for one of two things muBt be assumed 
-—either that the sacred penman gave an incomplete account of the 
itinerary of the Israelites, for some half dozen or more stations must 
be added to the lists in Exodus and Numbers to take them to a 
Sinai situated within a day's journey of 'Akaba ; or else the hitherto 
unquestioned identification of the Egypt of the Pharaohs with the 
MiUraim of the Bible must be abandoned. This latter view has 
been more than once advocated in the face of the testimony of history 
and of hieroglyphic monuments, and of the entire absence of any 
trace of such civilisation as that mentioned iu the Bible narrative of 
the Exodus east of the Nile valley. 

APPENDIX. 5 6 9 

" Here, then, is the initial difficulty. If we can believe the inspired 
writer ignorant of the number of stations between Egypt and Sinai, 
or if we can believe in a second Egypt east of the Isthmus of Suez 
which has passed away without leaviug a trace of its existence behind, 
then we may reject the traditions of ages, local and historical, the 
evidence of phytdcal facts, as reported by the Ordnance Survey and 
a long series of travellers, in favour of the mere hypothesis of a 
gentleman who acknowledges himself to be ' egregiously mistaken * 
upon the main point which he undertook his journey to prove. 

"In the meantime, I feel sure that the public will at least suspend 
its judgment until Dr. Beke's return has giveu the supporters of the 
traditional Sinni an opportunity of hearing and discussing his 
arguments in extern**.* 

KB. — Dr. Beke's reply to the foregoing letter was duly forwarded 
to the Editor of the "Academy;" but was refused insertion, in 
spite of Dr. Beke's urgent remonstrance with the Editor against 
the unfairness of allowing such a letter to appear in its columus, 
and not the reply. 

A. 0. P} to the Editor of the " Standard," ?th March, published 

1 2th March. 

" The opposition shown in the present day to Scripture, not only 
in the efforts made to abolish it altogether from our schools, but in 
the attempts made to explain away its truths, may possibly throw 
Bome light upon the above controversy. Dr. Beke, some time back, 
staked his reputation, as a scholar and a traveller of some expe- 
rience, on the fact that the real Mount Sinai was an extinct volcano. 
On comparing this preconceived notion with the account in Exodus, 
the animus is apparent ' There were thunders and lightnings and 
a thick cloud upon the Mount, . . . and the smoke thereof ascended 
as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole Mount quaked greatly.' 
According to Dr. Beke's recent letter, however, his volcano theory 
has failed, and he now appears jubilant over a thunderstorm theory. 
Are we wrong in classing as 'oppositions of science, falsely so 
called,' these attempts to explain away all that is miraculous in 
that book which is handed down by the nation whose very existence 
is itself a standing miracle 1 " 

Mr. J. N. Let to the Editor of the " Standard; 9 pttMMed 

14*/* March. 

" * A. G. P.' has unwittingly misrepresented Dr. Beke on the sub- 
ject of the thunderstorm. I subjoin Dr. Beke's own words : — 

1 Supposed to to Captain H. S. Palmar. 


" ' We encamped at the foot of the ( Mountain of Light/ and dur- 
ing the ensuing night we experienced a most tremendous storm, 
the thunder and lightning being truly terrific, some of the claps 
being directly over our heads. The rain fell in torrents during 
several hours, threatening to wash us away altogether. I do not 
remember to have ever witnessed a more violent tempest either in 
Abyssinia or elsewhere ; and its effect on my mind was this — that 
if the words of Scripture, that at the time of the Delivery of the 
Law on Sinai, ' the mountain burned with fire into the midst of 
heaveu, with darkness, clouds and thick darkness' (Deut. iv. n), 
with other texts which I need not here refer to, are not, as would 
now appear, to be understood as descriptive of a vulcanic eruption, 
still less can they be held to describe a mere thunderstorm, however 
violent, as is generally but somewhat inconsiderately imagined.' * 

On thk Exodus of the Israelites. 
Dr. Beke to the " AtJienaBumJ' publisJied 28th MarcJi 1874. 

" On my return to England from the visit I have just made to the 
' Mountain of Light,' situate north-east of 'Akaba, which I deem 
to be the true Mount Sinai, I wish to say a few words respecting 
the flight of the children of Israel from Hameses to the Red Sea, 
as recorded in Exodus xii. 37, xiii. 20, xiv. 1, which is generally 
imagined to have occupied them only three days, because 'the 
journeys of the Israelites,' enumerated in the thirty-third chapter 
of Numbers, are assumed to be each of a single day only. 

" The fact is, however, that the Scripture says nothing whatever 
about days' journey, but simply records the names of the principal 
places through or by which the Israelites passed. To conclude 
that the distance from Barneses to the Red Sea is only three days' 
journey, because the intermediate stations of Succoth and Etham 
alone are named, is much the same as if it were argued that the 
journey I have just gone from Alexandria to Venice, from Venice 
to Paris, and from Paris to England, has been of only three days' 
duration, because no mention is made of auy of its intermediate 

" That the journey of the Israelites from Rameses to the Red 
Sea was in reality of six days' duration, and not of three days only, 
is established by the following simple argument. The days during 
which the people ate unleavened bread were seven, commencing on 
the fifteenth and ending on the twenty-first day of the month ; the 
first day of the seven being a day of holy convocation or feast, and 
the seventh day beiug in like manner a day of holy convocation or 
feast (see Exod. xiii. 16 ; Levit. xxxiii. 7, 8). These days of un- 
leavened bread were necessarily coincident with those of their flight, 

APP&XD1X. 57 « 

which commenced at midnight of (preceding) the fifteenth day of 
the month, and continued till the night of (precediug) the tweuty- 
first day of the month, when they passed through the Red Sea. 
They ate unleavened bread on the nig lit of the feast of the Passover, 
because, as we are expressly told (Exod. xiL 34), their bread was 
not yet leavened, and they still couthmed to eat uuleaveued bread 
on the seventh day, although a feast, because during the preceding 
night their passage through the Red Sea took place, and there was 
neither time nor opportunity for them to leaven their bread. 

" This construction of the Scripture narrative is so simple aud 
natural that it scarcely stands in need of corroborative evidence. 
Nevertheless, that evidence is afforded by the fact that to the 
present day the Jews regard the twenty-first day of the mouth as 
the anniversary of the passage of their aucestors through the Red 
Sea, and accordingly on that day they recite iu their synagogues 
the fifteenth chapter of Exodus, containing the magnificent song of 
triumph an 1 thanksgiving sung by Moses aud the Children of 
Israel. Besides which, it has to be remarked that, had the passage 
through the Red Sea takeu place after only three days' journey, the 
Israelites would have been guilty of the inconsistency aud even the 
absurdity of continuing to eat * the bread of affliction/ as it is 
emphatically called in Deuteronomy xvi. 3, three days after their 
affliction had come to an end, and there was no longer any necessity 
for them to refrain from leavening their bread as they had beeu iu 
the habit of doing. 

"It is true that the Jews no longer regard their unleavened 
bread as the bread of affliction, but rather as the bread of rejoicing, 
aud instead of keeping only the first and seventh days of unleavened 
bread as feasts or days of holy convocation, as is ordained in the 
Pentateuch, they keep the whole seven days as if they were feasts. 
This, however, is a variation of long standing ; for iu 2 Chron. 
xxx. 2i 9 xxxiii. 17; Ezra iv. 22, we read that • thoy kept the 
feast of unleavened bread seven days.' So easy, aud indeed so 
natural, has it beeu with them, as with all other people, to change 
their holy days into holidays. 

" The Feast of the Passover is now near at hand. If any of 
your readers desire to satisfy themselves as to the custom of the 
Jews in this respect, they have only to visit one of their synagogues 
on the twenty-firBt day of the month — the 8th of April, if I calculate 
rightly — when they will hear the fifteenth chapter of Exodus read, 
because that day is the anniversary of the passage of the Children 
of Israel through the Red Sea, and the destruction therein of 
Pharaoh aud his host. 

" Sufficient has been said, I trust, to show that the flight of the 
Israelites from Raiueses to the Red Sea occupied them six days, 




and not three days only as is generally imagined. And as that 
flight was a precipitous one, and taken in great part during the 
night by the light of the moon, between the full aud the third 
quarter, it may reasonably be inferred that the distance travelled 
by the fugitives between Rameses and the Red Sea was much more 
than an ordinary six days' journey. Hence it is manifest how 
futile all attempts to trace the route of the Israelites must be, that 
are based on the assumption that that distance was of three days' 
journey only." 

The True Mount Sinai. 

Dr. Btkt to tiie Editor of the " Times " on hie arrival in England, 

published 30M MarcJi 1874. 

" I have only, since I arrived in England, seen my friend Major 
Wilson's letter and those of the Rev. F. W. Holland aud Major 
Palmer in the ' Times' of the 3d and 7th inst, and notwithstanding 
the time which has elapsed since the appearauce of those letters, 
I rely on your impartiality aud kindness to give equal publicity to 
ray reply to them. Those gentlemen having all been connected 
with the recent Ordnance Survey of the Peninsula between the 
Oulf of Sues and Akaba, in which Mount Sinai is traditionally 
placed, are unwilling, not uuuaturally, to have the faith in that 
traditional mountain shaken. But I feel persuaded that none of 
those gentlemen, like myself, desire otherwise than that the truth 
upon so important a Biblical question should be ascertained, and 
that, therefore, in the cause of that truth, they will readily lay 
aside the personal feelings they must so naturally entertain on 
the subject. 

"As it appears to me, Major Palmer is begging the whole 
question when he says that I have * in the first place, to disprove the 
conclusions to which not alone the late Ordnance Survey party have 
come, but the great majority of travellers, both ancient and 
modern, among our own countrymen, as well as foreigners.' Does 
that officer mean that questions like this are to be decided by a 
plebiscite f And are the ' conclusions' which I am thus called on 
to disprove anything but foregone conclusions) All that the 
Ordnance Surveying party were intended or professed to do was 
to ' explore the whole Peninsula,' and to ' estimate fairly the claims 
of the several rival Mounts Sinai' within that Peninsula, it being 
assumed by them that some one of those rivals must necessarily be 
the true Mountain of the Law. Of their having performed their 
task most ably and efficiently there can be no doubt whatever. It 
is only to-be regretted that before undertaking a work of such 
magnitude, which, however admirably executed, is likely to prove 


valueless as illustrative of the narrative of the Exodus, they should 
not have considered the previous question as to whether any one 
at all of those * rival Mounts Sinai ' could be the true one, and 
whether, indeed, the fact of such rivalry was not destructive of the 
tradition which places that mountain within the Peninsula. 

" And, in the result, has the Ordnance Survey really effected its 
professed object? To say nothing of Um Shaumur and Jebel 
Katherin, have Mr. Holland and his companions disproved the 
pretensions of Jebel Serbal as advocated by Professor Lepsius, 
Mr. Bartlett, Dr. Stewart, and others, or of Jebel Sena with its 
suggestive name, on which Dean Stanley dwells f Are they even 
agreed among themselves as to which is the real Sinai % Mr. Hol- 
land has still ' faith in Jebel Musa,' although I was informed in 
Egypt (evidently in error) that his faith had of late been seriously 
shaken ; while Major Wilson declares that * all the conditions 
required by the Bible narrative are fully met by the identification 
of Mount Sinai with the well-known Has Sufsafeh/ which, instead 
of being the Jebel Musa in which Mr. Holland has faith, is a 
separate peak further to the north. 

" As far as I can judge — and I have heard the like opinion ex- 
pressed by several well-informed persons — the result of the Ordnance 
Survey has been to unsettle things more than ever ; so that the 
assertion of Mr. Holland in the 'Atlieueum' of the 26th of September 
1878, that 'all attempts to lay down the probable line of inarch 
of the Children of Israel are mere guesswork,' remains just as true 
to-day as it was when made five and a half years ago. 

" The ouly issue out of the * many difficulties which have per- 
plexed earnest and anxious minds,' and the only sure way to ' solve 
questions which have thrown discredit upon the truth of a portion 
of the Bible history,' is to reopen the whole question and to consider 
impartially and reasonably the likely position of the Mountain of 
the Law upon the basis of my theory that the Yam-Soph or Bed 
Sea/ through which the Israelites passed in their Exodus is the 
same ' Red Sea in the land of Edom ' (1 Kings ix. 26) that was 
navigated by the Israelitish and Tynan fleets five centuries later — 
namely, the Gulf of Akaba, whence I have just returned, the Gulf 
of Suez having been as little known to Moses as it was to Solomon 
and Hirair, 

" Though Major Palmer appears to be unacquainted with this 
theory of mine, inasmuch as he calls it 'new,' whereas it was 
enunciated forty years ago in my * Origines Biblic*,' it is nevertheless 
well known to Mr. Holland, who has combated it (though without 
naming me as its author), in his appendix to Major Wilson's work, 
the ' Recovery of Jerusalem/ saying that the Red Sea, where crossed 
by the Israelites, was distant only three days' journey from their 


starting point, 'a distance/ he says, 'which exactly agrees with 
that of the head of the Gulf of Suez, bat which does not agree at 
all with the distance of the head of the Gulf of Alcana.' 

"But this supposed agreement is based upon the erroneous 
assumption that the Israelites were only three days on their journey 
to the Red Sea, whereas I have shown in my recently-published 
pamphlet (' Mount Siuai a Volcano ') they were no less than six 
days on their march — their passage through the sea having been 
made during the night of (preceding) the seventh day of unleavened 
bread, and accordingly their descendants celebrate on that day the 
anniversary of that passage. 

" The Ordnance Surveyors may be content to adopt the tradition 
of the monks of the convent on Jebel Mnsa, backed by the ' conclu- 
sions ' to which Major Palmer refers. For my own part, I prefer 
the testimony of the Scripture History, in perfect unison with which 
is the unbroken tradition of the Israelitish people, who during the 
entire period of their national history have eaten during seven days 
what at the institution of the Passover was ' the bread of afflic- 
tion,' but which after their deliverance became the bread of re- 
joicing, as it continues to be to this day. If any of your readers 
feel inclined to satisfy themselves as to the fact, they have only to 
enter a Jewish synagogue on the 2ist day of the present month of 
Nissan, which will be (if I mistake not) on the 8th of April, and 
they will hear read the fifteenth chapter of the Book of Exodus, 
containing the magnificent song of Thanksgiving and Triumph sung 
by Moses and the Children of Israel after their safe passage through 
the Yam-Suph — the ' Bed Sea in the Land of Edom ' of i Kings 
ix. 26, as I have so long contended — and the destruction therein of 
Pharaoh and his host 

" As my friend Major Wilson justly observes, the ' Times ' is 
hardly a fitting place for a long discussion of this sort I will, 
therefore, merely remark that my present discovery of the ' Moun- 
tain of Light/ and my identification of it with the Mount Sinai of 
Scripture, is a fact which I confidently adduce as an additional 
proof of the correctness of the theory enunciated by me in ' Origines 
Biblicae' in 1834, and since then supported by arguments and facts 
recorded in various publications, the last of these being my little 
work the 'Idol in Horeb,' published in 1871. While on this sub- 
ject I may mention, as not without bearing on the general subject, 
that when at Cairo a few days ago I was informed by the chief of 
the little community of Samaritans at Nablous (Shechem), Yakub 
Shelaby, who is well known to Dean Stauley, Dr. Pusey, the Rev. 
George Williams, and other travellers in the Holy Land, that he 
and his people consider the molten image made by Aaron for the 
children of Israel to worship (Exod. xxzii. 4), as well as the two 


idols set up by Jeroboam in Bethel and Dan at the time of the 
secession of the Ten Tribes (i Kings xii. 28), to hare been simply 
an wrought lamps of gold ; thus corroborating the opinion expressed 
in my last named work that ' the golden image at Mount Sinai was 
a cone and not a calf 

"In conclusion it is necessary that I should correct an error 
which my friend Major Wilson appears to have fallen into when 
imagining me to have ' abandoned my fire and smoke theory/ and 
to have 'cast it to the winds.' The 'Mountain of Light' — my 
Mount Sinai — as I was told, derives its appellation from the light, 
which appeared at night on its summit and served as a guide to 
Moses and the Israelites in their flight ; that is to say, the ' pillar 
of fire v by night and the ' pillar of cloud ' by day, of Exodus 
xiiL 21. If this appearance was not volcanic — and an eminent 
scientific friend of mine contends that it was so even on the summit 
of the traditional Mount Sinai — it must have had its origin in some 
cause which is at present inexplicable, and which in vulgar parlance 
would be styled a miracle. 

" It will thus be seen that the question between the Ordnance 
Surveyors and myself is of a very different character from what it 
would appear to be from their letters in the ' Times,' to which I 
trust I have now fully replied." 

Letter from Major C. W. Wilson, RK, to ttie Editor 0/ the 

" Times," published 3d April. 

" Would you allow me space to suggest to my friend Dr. Beke, 
that when he next addresses a long letter to the 'Times' criticising 
the views of other travellers he should make himself acquainted 
with the subject on which he writes % 

" Tour readers will probably be surprised to learn that Dr. Beke 
does not appear to have consulted the published account of the 
Ordnance Survey of Sinai before writing his letter. Had he done 
so he would have been aware that the members of the Surveying 
Expedition are perfectly agreed among themselves as to the position 
of Mount Sinai and the route followed by the Israelites in their 
journey to it; he would also have seen from those safe guides 
maps, and photographs, as well as from the letterpress, that neither 
Serbal, Catherine, Umm Shomer, or Sena could have been the 
Mountain of the Law. 

" I would venture to express a hope that, though Dr. Beke did 
not consider it worth his while to visit the Peninsula of Sinai, he 
may, before publishing the results of his journey in search of a 
volcano, take the trouble to read what has been written by those 
whose views he has criticised in the ' Times ' of Monday morning 


" It would hardly be fair to make any remarks on Dr. Beke's 
peculiar theories until the appearance of his promised work, * Sinai 
Regained ; ' meau while I may add that all the published docu- 
ments connected with the Ordnance Surrey are very much at his 
service, if he wishes to avail himself of them." 

Letter from " One Who Acw Been Tliere " to the Editor of the " Times," 

published $d April, 

" I have read — I cannot say with surprise, but with a certain 
amount of wonder — Dr. Beke's letter, published in the ' Times ' of 
Monday morning, relative to his alleged discovery of the true Mount 
Sinai. Dr. Beke's theory may not be ' new ' so far as he himself is 
concerned, for, as he says, it was published in an incomplete work 
issued a good many years ago ; but it is quite new so far as the 
public is concerned, inasmuch as it attempts to upset the conclu- 
sions arrived at, and almost universally accepted, by ancient and 
modern authorities for hundreds of years. 

" The fact is that Dr. Beke had a theory, and in order to establish 
that theory it was necessary to find a mountain — and this he has 
done, with the smallest amount of trouble to himself — within a few 
hours' journey of Akabah, the site of the ancient Erion-geber, 

" Now, to prove the utter absurdity of such a theory it is only 
necessary to state that the Sinai of the Israelites was the ninth 
station named in the wanderings of the children of Israel (see 
Numbers xxxiii.), and that Ezion-geber is the twenty-ninth ; and to 
place * the true Mount Sinai ' within half a day's journey of the 
latter place would be to throw the whole itinerary into utter con- 
fusion. The reference given by Dr. Beke to i Kings ix. 26 is also 
entirely misleading ; for any one can see for himself that this verse 
alludes exclusively to Ezion-geber, which was situated, as every one 
admits, on the eastern fork of the Red Sea — that is, on the Gulph 
of Akabah. 

"But Dr. Beke has another theory, and that a still more astounding 
one— viae, that the Israelites never were in Egypt at all — that is, 
in the country known to us as Egypt, but in some undiscovered 
region lying to the eastward, where all the phenomena and peculi- 
arities of the country known to us as Egypt, including a new river 
Nile, have to be reproduced if his theory be correct. It will require 
a vastly larger amount of persuasion to accept this idea as true than 
it needs of faith to believe in the story as we have hitherto received 
it, involving, as it does, the necessity of believing also that the 
Israelites themselves, who were the nearest neighbours of, and in 
closest intercourse with, the Egyptians did not know where they 
came from. 

"The Jebel-en-Nur which Dr. Beke liia 'discovered' ia a large 
flat-topped mountain, visible to every one ascending or descending 
the pass leading from the plain of Akabah to the plateau of the Tih. 
The only real discovery lie has made ia in the name, and knowing, as 
all travellers do, the readiness with which all Orientals, and especially 
dreKomans, adopt the slightest hint given to them by their employers, 
I cannot help suspecting that the name, like the theory, originated 
with the Doctor ; at all event*, it proves nothing, and I do not 
suppose that Dr. Beke means to affirm that the bones found on the 
top were left there by the Israelites. 

'"The country to die eastward of the spot which Dr. Beke reached, 
and to the mountain, which he did not ascend, is not unknown to us. 
It has been described, I think, by Burckhardt, and is, at all events, 
traversed only a short distance inland by the great Haj route from 
Damascus to Mecca and Medinau, so that if any region answering at 
all to the Egypt we know of had existed thereabouts, it is pretty 
certain that we should have heard of it before this. The existence 
of a second Nile could not have been kept a secret for so long a time. 
On the other hand, I think that on the question of time Dr. Beke 
may be right, and it is much more probable that the Israelites, 
encumbered ae they were, took six days than three to reach the Red 
Sea ; but, on the same snowing, this Bed Sea must be the Gulf of 
Sues and none other, for it is utterly impossible that they could have 
got to the Gulf of Akabah in that time. Hence the necessity of 
another Egypt 

" If Dr. Beke bad ever been at the traditional Mount Sinai he 
would not have committed the error of describing Jebel Musa and 
Baa-el-Sufsafeh as two distinct mountains. The latter is simply one 
of the buttresses of the great mountain known as a whole as Jebel 
Musa, and any one who has stood on that wondrous cliff, as I have, 
and looked down on the great plain of Er Rsbah stretched ont at hia 
feet, and rising gradually, as it recedes from the base, like the pit of a 
theatre, cannot fait, with the Bible narrative in his bands, to recognise 
it as the undoubted spot where the Israelitisb encampment stood. 

"As for the claims of Jebel Serbal, &c, Dr. Beke ought to know 
by this time that these have long since yielded to the unquestionable 
results of recent scientific investigation, and never bad any other 
foundation than the fact that, like bis Jebel -en- Nur, they were places 
of sacrifice and devotion." 

Major E. S. Palmer, R.E., to the Editor of the" Time*," 

published 3d April ' 

" After having looked forward with some curiosity to Dr Beba'. 

promised ' proofs ' in favour of his ' true Mount Sinai ' I w M di.u 

appointed, though I own not much surprised, to see that, in hia 


letter in the 'Times' of Monday, instead of trying to prove his own 
point (or to disprove oars), he adopts the tactics, so common in weak 
and doubtful causes, of running down the opposite side. His 
attempts to criticise and depreciate the Ordinance Survey of Sinai, 
and to discuss the topography of the Sinaitic Peninsula, are, never- 
theless, singularly unhappy; indeed, the only conclusion to be 
drawn from them is, that he knows very little of the whole matter. 
Dr. Beke fancies, for example, that he detects a discordance between 
Major Wilson's adhesion to the Has Sufsafeh and Mr. Holland's 
to Jebel Musa, whereas the slightest knowledge of the local features 
would have told him that there is no such discordance, the Has 
Sufsafeh being simply a part of Jebel Musa. Dr. Beke asks 
whether we have disproved the pretensions of Jebel Serbal, Jebel 
Umm Shomer, and Jebel Ratharina, or Jebel Sena (sic). Had he but 
examined our official reports and illustrations, which your reviewer 
was good enough to characterise as models of their kind, he could 
never have put this question. He speaks of our having adopted 
the monkish traditions ; it can hardly be said that we have adopted 
so much as one of them. From these few specimens of our critic's 
accuracy and knowledge, your readers may estimate how much 
value can be attached to the assertion of himself, and of those 
1 well-informed persons ' who agree with him, that the result of the 
Ordnance Survey has been to ( unsettle things more than ever.' 

" Dr. Beke then urges that the whole question of the topography 
of the Exodus be reconsidered, on the basis of his theory that the 
sea which the children of Israel crossed is the Gulf of Akabah, 
and not the Gulf of Suez. Will it not be well, before assent- 
ing to so sweeping a proposal, to examine briefly what this theory 
demands, and also what it leads to % 

"There is, to begin with, the very great difficulty that the 
distance from the generally-received site of Barneses (the starting- 
point of the Israelites) to the head of the Gulf of Akabah is fully 
200 miles; whereas two stations only, Succoth and Etham, are 
mentioned in the narrative as intervening between that starting- 
point and the station from which the passage of the sea was effected. 
For disposing of this preliminary difficulty, Dr. Beke has recourse 
to two expedients. Firstly, in defiance of the testimony of history 
and of hieroglyphic monuments, and of the opinion of all com- 
parative geographers and critics, he transfers the flourishing king- 
dom in which the Israelites were in bondage, the Mitzraim of 
Scripture — hitherto identified, without any question, with the 
Egypt of the Pharaohs — to the blank wilderness plateau east of the 
Isthmus of Suez, where there is neither vestige nor tradition of its 
existence. Haying by this trifling feat brought Mitzraim to within 
a moderate distance of Akabah, Dr. Beke, for his second expedient, 


argues that the journey from Barneses to the sea — hitherto believed 
to have occupied but three days, three stages only being mentioned 
in the Scripture itinerary — must have extended to no fewer than 
six days ; and he adduces some ingenious, but by no means con- 
clusive, reasons in favour of this hypothesis. Thus, by first moving 
Barneses perhaps eighty or a hundred miles to the eastward, at the 
bidding of his theory, and then galloping the Israelites — men, 
women, and children, flocks and herds and very much cattle — over 
some twenty miles daily, for six successive days, he brings them to 
the head of the Gulf of Akabah, and so across the sea. 

"Thence, according to the Scripture narrative, there were at 
least ten days' journey (seventeen Dr. Beke ought to say, doubling 
the last seven stages) before Mount Sinai was reached. To be con- 
sistent, therefore, we should look for a Mount Sinai at from ten to 
seventeen days' journey, or at all events at a considerable distance, 
in some direction or other from Akabah. But Dr. Beke's 'true 
Mount Sinai ' is within a day's walk of it, say fifteen miles ; and in 
order to dispose of the intervening stages, he is driven to the 
desperate manoeuvre of making the host first turn their backs upon 
their destination, march for five days (this time without any 
multiplication), to an encampment by the sea eighty miles down the 
east side of the Gulf of Akabah — which encampment, by the way, he 
now places at between thirty and forty miles from the position he last 
assigned to it — and then face about and retrace their steps to Sinai. 
Can Dr. Beke seriously suppose that Moses, who knew perfectly 
well where Sinai was, could have acted in this purposeless manner 1 

"It is difficult to write gravely upon this truly marvellous 
hypothesis. It is much as though, on learning that a pedestrian, 
some years ago, had walked from the Marble Arch to Charing 
Cross in half an hour, passing a post-office at about one-fourth of 
the way, one were to assume that Charing Cross really meant the 
Bank of England, and that the post-office must have been the 
General Post Office ; and that, as there might be a little difficulty 
in maintaining that the distance from the Marble Arch to St. 
Martin's-le-Grand could be accomplished in some seven minutes on 
foot, it would only be right to assume that the seven minutes must 
have been fourteen minutes, thus increasing the half-hour to thirty- 
seven minutes ; and that the Marble Arch, in defiance of all testi- 
mony to the contrary, must then have stood at the bottom of 
Tottenham Court Road, from which point an active man might 
possibly do it in the time. Then there would be twenty-three 
minutes left ; so the pedestrian, instead of going on at once to the 
Bank, which he would reach much too soon, must be supposed to 
have wandered as far as the bottom of Ludgate Hill and back, in 
order to keep him walking all the time. 



This, sir, ia the kind of theory, with its concomitant demands 
and results, which, so far as I can gather from his public writings, 
Dr. Beke would have us accept in the * cause of truth/ It is need- 
less to defend the Ordnance Survey against it, or to anticipate the 
verdict of the public. If the Biblical itinerary is to be manipulated 
in this fashion ; if journeys are to be stretched to the breaking 
point at one end, compressed and looped-up at the other ; if a well- 
identified ancient kingdom is to be moved about like a piece upon 
a chess-board, and the simple inferences from Scripture are to be 
multiplied, just when convenient, by two, — all to suit the fancies of 
a single theorist, who undertakes to settle a difficult question like 
this at the end of his first afternoon in the desert, and who has 
failed in the very matter which he set out to prove, and on which 
he had staked his reputation — then, surely, there is an end to the 
study of sacred or any other geography — an end, indeed, to all 
topographical inquiry. It were time for the Palestine Exploration 
Fund to wind up its affairs, and for the Royal Geographical Society 
to close its doors. 

" I do not think that the points regarding myself in Dr. Beke's 
letter call for any remark. It may be as well, however, to assure 
him that when I wrote my last letter I was acquainted with his 
previous opinions, and that, in styling his present hypothesis ' new/ 
I did so because his ( true Mount Sinai ' turns out to be not within 
fifty miles of the position he formerly suggested, to say nothing 
of the sudden abandonment of his 'volcano' theory — that ignis 
fatuus which led him to the desert 

" I will only add that, if Dr. Beke will give us an opportunity of 
breaking a friendly lance with him at the Geographical Society or 
elsewhere, my late colleagues and I shall be but too happy to 
encounter him, without the least ' personal feeling,' and simply in 
the interests of geography and truth. Nor would his present 
' hallucinations ' cause us to forget his justly earned eminence as a 
geographer and a scholar. 

" Apologising for the length of this letter, and promising not to 
trouble you on the subject again." 

[Dr. Beke had no opportunity afforded him of doing this, as, 
although he was frequently at the offices of the Royal Geographical 
Society, he was never asked to read a paper.] 

Dr. Beke to the Editor of the " Times," published yth April 1874. 

Dr. Charles Beke writes to us in reply to the various correspon- 
dents who have disputed his claim to be the discoverer of the true 
Mount Sinai : — 

"Were you to afford me ten times the space that I almost hesitate 
to ask you to grant me in the valuable columns of the ' Times,' it 
would hardly suffice for a complete answer to all the various matters 


brought up against me in the letters of the members of the late 
Ordnance Surrey published in the * Times ' of the 3d inst. The 
writers of those letters have put their foot down on my Mount Sinai, 
and seem determined, by every means in their power, to stamp out 
my theory, after the example of the late Dean Milman in the * Quar- 
terly Review.' This time, however, the attempt to crush me is, 
fortunately, made in the * Times/ and as the maxim of your influential 
journal is ' Audi alteram partem,' I fear not the result, let the odds 
against me be what they may. 

" In the discussion of this most important question, which ought 
to be above party considerations of every kind, I regret to observe 
that my entreaty that all personal feelings might be laid aside has 
been disregarded. Major Palmer so far forgets himself as to speak 
of my ' hallucinations/ while the anonymous writer who has taken 
Mr. Holland's place expresses his suspicion that the name of Jebel- 
en-Nur — the * Mountain of Light' — originated with myself ! I will 
not notice what is virtually an imputation of fraud and imposture 
further than to say, that I think * One who has been there ' would 
have been ashamed to make it in his own name. 

" Leaving these miserable personalities, I turn to the serious 
consideration of some of the main points in dispute. First, I am 
accused of having wrongfully charged the Ordnance Surveyors with 
unsettling, rather than settling, matters, and of differing among 
themselves as to the identification of the Mountain of the Law, and 
I am told that Jebel Musa and Bas Sufsafeh are the same. To this I 
reply, that I have before me a copy of the Ordnance Survey map, on 
which I see marked the two separate and distinct peaks of Jebel 
Musa with an elevation of 7363 feet, and Has Sufsafeh with an 
elevation of 6541 feet, the fotmer of those peaks being considered to 
be Mount Sinai, and the latter Mount Horeb ; and, without raising 
a question as to whether the Horeb of Scripture was or was not a 
different mountain from Sinai, I would ask which of the two peaks 
shown on the map is deemed to be the Mountain of the Law! 
Tradition says the former, and Mr. Holland asserts his ' faith iu 
Jebel Musa.' On the other hand, Major Wilson affirms that 'all the 
conditions required by the Bible narrative are fully met by the 
identification of Mount Sinai with the well-known Bas Sufsafeh / 
and ' One who has been there ' first charges me with ' error in de- 
scribing Jebel Musa and Has el Sufsafeh as two distinct mountains ' 
— whereas what I said was that the latter ' is a separate peak further 
to the north ' than Jebel Musa, as, in fact, the Ordnance Survey map 
shows it to be, — and then he speaks of * that wondrous cliff/ from 
which he * looked down 011 the great plain of El Rabah/ <fec, that 
cliff being the ' separate peak ' of Ras Sufsafeh, for from the summit 
of Jebel Musa the plain of £1 Rabah is not visible. 


"Now, as the Mountain of the Law, whether called Sinai or 
Horeb, or both, cannot have been the two separate peaks in question, 
the members of the Surveying Expedition are bound to state cate- 
gorically which of the two it is that they are 'perfectly agreed among 
themselves ' is the one which was ascended by Moses in the sight of 
the children of Israel. 

" Further, I would ask whether Professor Lepsius, Dr. Stewart, 
and the other learned travellers and scholars who have advocated 
the pretensions of Jebel Serbal, have signified their assent to the 
unqualified assertion that those pretensions ' have long yielded to 
the unquestionable results of recent scientific investigation ' % If so, 
then it is desirable to know whether it is in favour of Jebel Musa 
or of the separate peak of Has Sufsafeh that Jebel Serbal has so 
abdicated. Unless the advocates of the last-named mountain have 
done this, the result of the Ordnance Survey, as it appears to me, 
has been to unsettle matters more than ever by bringing forward the 
wondrous cliff of Ras Sufsafeh as a competitor for the honour of 
being the Mountain of the Law, in addition to the two rival peaks 
of Jebel Musa and Jebel SerbaL 

" The use made of my incontrovertible proof that the Israelites 
were six days, and not three days, in reaching the Red Sea is quite 
characteristic. Mr. Holland asserted that the distance of three 
days ' exactly agrees with that of the head of the Gulf of Sues ' 
from Ismailia, which place he makes to be the starting-point of the 
Israelites. His substitute now admits that it is ' more probable ' 
the fugitives * took six days than three ' to travel this self-same dis- 
tance. With such facile manipulations of the Bible itinerary, is it 
not true, as Mr. Holland himself avowed only a few years since, 
that ' all attempts to lay down the probable line of march of the 
children of Israel are mere guesswork ' % 

" But I must not confine myself to pointing out the inconsis- 
tencies of my opponents, lest I should really render myself amen- 
able to Major Palmer's accusation, that, instead of trying to prove 
my own point, I adopt the tactics, so common in weak and doubt- 
ful causes, of attacking the opposite side, merely remarking that 
what is thus said reminds one of the fable of the wolf and the lamb, 
inasmuch as, instead of being the attacking party, I am the object 
of a systematic attack, begun without even waiting for my arrival 
in England to defend myself. 

" The assertion that Jebel-en-Nur is ( a large flat-topped moun- 
tain ' will be disproved when Mr. Milne's sketches of it shall appear 
in the ' Illustrated London News.' The further assertion that I 
place a ' region answering to the Egypt we know of ' and ( a second 
Nile ' somewhere within ' the country to the east of the spot which 
I reached/ displays what I am willing to believe is nothing more 


than sheer ignorance. What I did say in my ' Origines Biblica ' 
was that Mitzraim, the Land of Bondage of the Israelites, formed 
no portion of Egypt proper, but lay to the north-east, between it 
and the country of the Philistines, a people of cognate origin with 
the Mitzrites. Major Palmer is pleased to call this a hallucination. 
Sanely and dispassionately will I endeavour not only to prove it to 
be a sober truth, but likewise to show that since this theory of 
mine was enunciated, scholars generally have been coming to adopt 
substantially my views on the subject. At that time, now forty 
years ago, it was regarded as an indisputable fact that the Israelites 
were in bondage in the very heart of Egypt, where they built the 
Pyramids, and I know not what besides, and that their exodus was 
from Memphis, the capital, on the west side of the Nile, above 
Cairo. By degrees their starting-point has been shifted north-east- 
wards, so that in the map of ' Sinai and the Desert of the Wander- 
ings,' in Dr. William Smith's * Ancient Atlas,' Barneses is placed at 
or near Tell-el-Abbassiyeh, on the fresh-water canal, while Mr. 
Holland goes yet further, and places it at Ismailia, some thirty miles 
more to the east, and as much as seventy miles north-east of 
Memphis. I may here notice that on the same map I see marked 
three different spots, at distances of thirty miles or more apart, all 
with the name * Kadesh-Barnea,' which affords an additional proof 
of the truth of Mr. Holland's assertion, that ' all attempts to lay 
down the probable line of march of the children of Israel are mere 

" But to go back to the Land of Bondage. Ismailia being now 
recognised as the starting-point of the Israelites, it is manifest that 
the * Bible itinerary ' has been ' manipulated ' to such an extent 
during the last forty years — not by me, but by others — as to come 
half-way to meet me. Nevertheless, it is asserted that my theory 
is ' in defiance of the testimony of history and of hieroglyphic monu- 
ments, and of the opinion of all comparative geographers and 
critics.' This is anything but the fact. Many years ago an 
Egyptologist of some repute, now deceased, asserted unequivocally 
that neither in the history nor on the hieroglyphic monuments of 
Egypt is there any evidence whatever of the presence of the 
Israelites in Egypt, and that, so far as history and those monu- 
ments are concerned, the Bible history might be a myth. I am 
grieved to say that of late years, and more especially within the last 
month, when I was in Egypt, I have heard the story of the Exodus 
denounced as a mere fable, and this by men of high standing in the 
scientific world. And yet, in fact, it is a fable, not in itself, but in 
the manner and form in which it is represented by the Septuagint 
translators and traditionists. 

" The most recent investigations have, however, so modified the 


history of the Israelites with reference to their sojourn in the Land 
of Bondage as to render the difference between the views of the 
most enlightened scholars and those entertained by myself little 
more than nominal, whereby the stigma attached to that history 
in its traditional form is fast being removed. The distinguished 
Egyptologist, M. Marietta, the founder and director of the 
Museum of Egyptian Antiquities at Boulak, thus writes in his able 
little work) ' Apercu de l'Histoire d'Egypte' (2nd edit, 1872), 

P. 4i :— 

" * Strong presumptions tend to make us believe that the Patri- 
arch Joseph came into Egypt uuder the Shepherds, and that the 
scene of the touching story related in the Book of Genesis was the 
court of one of those foreign kings. Joseph was therefore not the 
Minister of a Pharaoh of national extraction. It was a Shepherd 
king — that is to say, a Shemite like himself, whom Joseph served, 
and the elevation of the Hebrew Minister becomes the more intelli- 
gible oh the assumption that he was patronised by a sovereign of 
the same race as himself.' • 

" Thus, according to Mr. Holland, the Land of Bondage was at 
or near Ismailia, on, if not beyond, the confines of Egypt proper, 
and according to M. Mariette (loc. cit.), the people among whom 
the Israelites dwelt were not Egyptians at all, but a race of 
foreign shepherds whose descendants and representatives are ' those 
foreigners with robust limbs, harsh features, and oval faces, who to 
this day inhabit the shores of Lake Menzaleh ' — foreigners to whom, 
as Professor Owen truly states in the ' Times * of May 25, 1869, 
' Egypt was indebted for the horse as a beast of draught. Previous 
to this Philistine or Arabian invasion, the manifold frescoes in the 
tombs of Egyptian worthies show no other soliped than the ass. 
The dromedary was a still later introduction.' 

" And what is the ungarbled evidence of the Hebrew Scriptures 
themselves? In that inestimable canon of ethnology and geo- 
graphy handed down to us in the tenth chapter of Genesis, it is 
recorded, under the head of the Children of Ham, that ' Mitsraim 
begat . . . Pathrusim and Casluhim, out of whom came Philistim ; v 
showing that the Mitzrites or Shepherds and the Philistines were 
nations of cognate origin, with which fact the conclusions of M. 
Mariette, Professor Owen, and myself are in perfect harmony. 

Had the translators of the Septuagint Greek version but stuck 
to their text, and retained the Hebrew name 'Mitzraim' in the 
subsequent portions of their work, as they have done in the passage 
just cited, the prevailing error against which I have so long con- 
tended might never have arisen, or at all events could not have 
become so deeply rooted as it is. But only two chapters further 
on, when the migrations of the Patriarch Abram are narrated, it is 


said that, as he ' journeyed, going on stall towards the sooth, there 
was a famine in the land, and Abram went down into Egypt to 
sojourn there ' (Gen. xii 9, 10) — the identical word * Mitzxaim ' 
of the tenth chapter being thus, in the very next page, unwarrant- 
ably altered to ' Egypt.' 

" Mitzraim, then, was a country lying to the north-east of Egypt 
proper, towards Philiwtia, possessing in the earliest ages both horses 
and dromedaries (' camels'), which Egypt did not till subsequently; 
and being, like Philistia, famous for its vast corn-fields, which 
during ages furnished to the Israelites a resource in periods of 
famine. This is instanced in the story of the Shunamite widow, 
who, haying been forewarned by Elisha of the approaching famine, 
' went with her household into the land of the Philistines seven years' 
(2 EingB viiL 1, 2), precisely as, eight centuries previously, her 
ancestor the Patriarch Jacob and his household had, under a similar 
seven years' famine, migrated into the neighbouring corn-growing 
country of the Mitzrites. 

" How so gross an error as that of confounding Egypt with Mitz- 
raim should have arisen is a story too long to be repeated intbe 'Times;' 
besides, it is already narrated in ' Origines Biblical' But one of the 
consequences of this error, which is not noticed in my work, may be 
briefly stated here. When the Patriarch Joseph introduced his father 
and brethren to Pharaoh he directed them to say, ' Thy servants are 
shepherds,' for the reason, as is alleged in all the versions of the 
Scriptures that follow the Greek Septuagint, though not in the Targum 
of Onkelos, that 'every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians ' 
(Gen. xlvi. 34). Now this assertion, taken by itself and apart from 
the context, is no doubt literally true, for the Shepherds, or Hyksos, 
that is to say the Mitzrites, were held in intense hatred by the 
Egyptians, though even then it would not be intelligible why 
Joseph should have so specially directed his kinsmen to say their 
occupation was that of this accursed race. But, taken in connection 
with the context and with the facts of the history as now beginning 
to be understood, it would be the height of absurdity to imagine 
Joseph to have told his father that every shepherd was an 
abomination to a people who were themselves shepherds. 

" The fact is, however, that the word to'ebah of the Hebrew text, 
which is so wrongly translated ' abomination,' has, like the Greek 
'atditpa and the Latin sacer, a double meaning. It cannot well be 
rendered into English so as to preserve the ambiguity, though 
Milton has ' But to destruction sacred and devote.' But in French 
it may be said tout pasteur est sacre, which may be understood as 
signifying either un komme sacre or un sacre komme, and the 
Septuagiut translators, in tbeir ignorance, adopted the latter 
meaning. There can, however, be no doubt that the true inter- 


pretation of what Joseph said to his father is, * Every shepherd is 
sacred (or an object of respect or veneration) to the Mitzrites.' 
The same error is committed with respect to the sheep, the sacred 
animal of the Mitzrites, which Moses told Pharaoh it was not meet 
for him to sacrifice in the land ; for, said he, ' so shall we sacrifice 
the to'ebah' — that is, Vanimal were, and not le sacre animal — 'of 
the Mitzrites before their eyes, and will they not stone us ? ' (Exod. 
viii. 26). 

" In the ' Times' of March 30th I adduced a further instance of 
the ignorance displayed by the Greek translators in supposing the 
golden image made by Aaron for the children of Israel to worship 
at Sinai to have been in the form of a calf, as representing an 
Egyptian deity, instead of a cone, the emblem of fire, in which 
form alone the Almighty had been manifested to Moses and the 

" Under such circumstances there is not, after all, anything 
extraordinary in the fact that those translators imagined Mitzraim, 
in which country shepherds and their flocks were venerated and 
respected, to be Egypt, where the foreign Hyksos, Shepherds, or 
Mitzrites were truly * an abomination.' 

" The bearing of this general question on the particular subject 
now under discussion with the members of the Ordnance Survey is 
this : — At the time when the Israelites were still in bondage under 
the Mitzritish shepherds Moses ' fled from the face of Pharaoh, and 
dwelt in the land of Midian ' (Exod. ii. 15), which land is a portion 
of the ' east country' (Gen. xxv. 6), that is to say, the country east 
of Jordan. While there, ( Moses kept the flock of his father-in-law 
Jethro, and he led the flock to the back' — in Hebrew akhor, mean- 
ing * west ' — * side of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, 
even to Horeb' (Exod iii. 1). 

" Now, it may well seem incomprehensible that the traditional 
Mount Sinai, instead of being at the west side of the land of Midian 
in the ' east country,' should have been placed within the peninsula 
between the two Gulfs of Suez and Akaba, in a region far away to 
the south of the ' south country' (Gen. xx. 1) ; and not less so 
must be the idea that Moses should have fled from the face of 
Pharaoh into a district in which there was a colony of Egyptians, 
with copper mines worked by them, as the hieroglyphics there 
show. But what seems the most incomprehensible of all is that it 
should have come to be imagined that the Israelites, who were 
constantly in a state of insubordination and even rebellion, and 
anxiously longing to return into Mitzraim (' Egypt '), should have 
been led by Moses into the ctU-dt-sac between the two Gulfs, 
where they were almost within sight of Egypt, and whence at any 
moment they would not have had the slightest difficulty in re- 


turning. The key to the whole of these inconsistencies and absur- 
dities is this : — At some remote period, probably in the early ages of 
Christianity, it was found convenient to have the Mountain of God 
near at hand for pilgrims to visit, and therefore it was removed 
into its present traditional position from its true place on the west 
side of the desert of Midian, in the east country, beyond the Valley 
of the Jordan and the Sea of Edom, where, following the in- 
dications of Scripture, I declared forty years ago it was to be 
sought for, and now, before I die, I have been enabled to discover 
it ; in like manner as, at a later age of the Christian era, it became 
necessary for the accommodation of pilgrims to transport the ' Holy 
House 9 from Nazareth, first into Dalmatia, and then to Loreto, 
where it is believed to stand by those multitudes who look on tra- 
dition and ' authority ' as of greater weight than the dictates of 
truth and common sense. 

" But I have been led to dilate far more than I intended. At 
the outset of this controversy, Major Wilson truly said that your 
paper is hardly fitting for a long discussion of this sort I only 
lament that I should be under the necessity of occupying so much 
of your valuable space in answering strictures on what was meant 
by me to be a simple statement, for the information of your readers 
and the public at large, of what I had done and seen on the 
journey from which I have just returned, without imagining it 
would have been subjected to such animadversions, at all events 
not until the full particulars had been published of what I believe 
will be admitted to be a most important discovery by all except 
those who are interested in upholding the traditional identifications. 
I must further explain, that in making that statement in the ' Times' 
I had no possible motive for alluding to the Ordnance Survey of 
the peninsula, inasmuch as it relates to a totally different region 
from that visited by me ; and for the same reason I have now no 
need to avail myself of Major Wilson's friendly offer to produce to 
me all the published documents connected with that survey. Such 
an offer, however well meant, is much the same (he will permit me 
to say) as if, now that the Astronomer Royal has shown that when 
Caesar invaded Britain his fleet on leaving Dover sailed with the 
tide down Channel instead of up, the Lord Warden of the Cinque 
Forts (I must beg Earl Granville's pardon for the absurd proposi- 
tion) were to offer to place at my disposal charts of the Downs and 
the east coast of Kent, with a map of Deal and the vicinity, and 
even a plan with sections and elevations of Walmer Castle, in order 
to illustrate Csesar's landing on the south coast. 

" I must thank you for your impartiality and great consideration 
in thus allowing me to defend myself from what I cannot but 
regard as a most uncalled-for attack on the part of the members 
of t^e Ordnance Survey." 


On the Exodus of the Isbablites. 
Dr. Beke to the " Athenaeum," published 16th May 1874. 

" When I was at Cairo in the beginning of last March, on my 
way back from Jebel-en-Nur, which I identify with Mount Sinai, I 
was informed by Professor Brugscb, the distinguished Egyptologist, 
that it was radically erroneous to imagine the Children of Israel, 
in their Exodus, to have crossed the Red Sea, whether this be the 
Qulf of Suez as is generally supposed, or the Gulf of Akaba as I 
contend ; for that the sea through which the fugitives passed was 
the Serbonian Lake near Mount Casius, in the north-east of Egypt. 
Upon this point he told me there was no possible room for doubt. 
Egyptian hieroglyphical inscriptions identify Barneses, whence the 
Israelites commenced their flight, with Tanis, now represented by 
San, and they likewise establish the position of the several stations 
on the route from Kameses to the Red Sea. He added, that, after 
the passage through the sea, the only localities he had found men- 
tioned were ' Marsh* and the ' land of Sina,' of which the positions 
were not yet determinable. 

" The coolness with which the erudite Professor expounded all 
these matters to me was quite refreshing. Repeatedly did he assure 
me that he was not expressing any opinion of his own : it is no 
matter of opinion ; the inscriptions speak for themselves. And he 
was so obliging as to look them up from the immense collection of 
materials he is amassing for a Geographical Dictionary, on which he 
has long been engaged, in order that, as he said, I might read them 
myself. As my knowledge of hieroglyphics, however, is almost 
limited to what I learned from Dr. Thomas Young's discovery before 
M. Chanipollion'8 system was invented, I was content to take Profes- 
sor Brugsch's word for everything being as he stated ; though, at the 
same time, I could have no difficulty in recognising the bridge over 
which the Israelites crossed the Pelusiac arm of the Nile, with the 
crocodiles in the river, as depicted in one of the pieces shown 
to me. 

" I was given to understand that it would be some considerable 
time before the particulars of this interesting discovery would be 
made known to the world ; but from a letter from Cairo, published 
in the * Times ' of the 28th ultimo, I perceive that Professor Brugscb, 
stimulated apparently by my visit to him, has just read a paper 
before a society in that city, in which he has publicly enunciated 
what he had so kindly imparted to me privately. 

" From the printed report of that paper I gather that its author 
repudiates altogether the expression ' Yam Suf / or ' Red Sea ' of 


the Scripture*, for the reason thai it occurs only in Moses 9 Song in 
the fifteenth chapter of Exodus, which was ' composed a long time 
after the occurrence; 9 whereas 'in the true historical narrative 
there is only mention made in a general way of ' the sea,' which was 
the Mediterranean.' My impression however is, though of course I 
may be mistaken, that Professor Brngsch showed me some characters, 
which he read ' Tarn Sofa,' as being the name of the body of water 
through which the Israelites passed. It may be expedient to explain 
that the expression in the original Hebrew text translated * Red 
Sea,' is 'Tarn Suf,' that is to say, the 'Sea of Suf,' this being the 
denomination of the sea ' in the land of Edom ' of 1 Kings ix. 26, 
on the shore of which was Ezion-Geber, where Solomon, king of 
Israel, in conjunction with Hiram, king of Tyre, made a navy of 
ships to go to Ophir. And as the Hebrew word ' Edom ' means 
' red,' the name of this ' Edom ' Sea was, in accordance with the 
custom of the Tynans or Phoenicians, and, after their example, of 
the Greeks, translated 'Eythnsan' or 'Red* Sea ; and this term, 
though in the first instance belonging to the Gulf of Akaba alone, 
became applied to the entire Arabian Gulf, and thence was even- 
tually extended to the seas washing the whole coast of Arabia, and 
even to the Indian Ocean; just as, in later ages, the names of 
' Atlantic ' and ' Pacific,' which belonged in the first instance to the 
seas on the west coasts of Africa and America respectively, have been 
extended to the entire oceans of the two hemispheres. 

" Professor Brngsch says, however, that the ' Red Sea ' is named 
only in Moses' Song, and that in the historical narrative of the 
Exodus mention is made in a general way of ' the sea ' alone. But 
on this I feel myself called on to remark that the expression ' Yam 
Suf' occurs in more than one place besides Moses 9 Song in connec- 
tion with the passage of the Israelites through the sea. For instance, 
in Exodus xiii 16, 17, it is said that 'God led the Israelites, not 
by the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near, . . . 
but God led the people about by the way of the wilderness of the 
Tarn Suf; 9 and in Exodus xv. 22, after Moses' Song is ended and 
the historical narrative is resumed, it is said, ' And (wrongly trans- 
lated • so') Moses brought Israel from the Tarn Suf, and they went 
into the wilderness of Shur.' Further, in Numbers xxxiiL 8, after 
it has been said that ' they departed from before Pihahiroth, and 
passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness,' it is stated, 
in verse 10, that ' they removed from Elim, and encamped by the 
Tarn Suf. 9 

" The report in the ' Times ' adds that Mariette Bey has given 
his adherence to the conclusions of Professor Brngsch, whom he 
considers to have adduced arguments 'short and few, t>ut irre- 
sistibly solid,' in support of his theory; which theory, he says, 


1 explains all difficulties hitherto experienced, and takes away every 

"It remains to be seen what the members of the Ordnance 
Surrey of the peninsula of the traditional Mount Sinai will say to 
these novel views, they having, in their recent controversy with me 
(see the ' Times ' of 3d and 9th April), appealed to ' the testimony 
of history and of hieroglyphic monuments. 

" For my part, as I have not the same faith as they have in the 
hieroglyphic monuments as hitherto interpretated, I am not made 
at all uneasy by Professor Brugsch's reading from them of the 
Scripture history. At the same time, I may remark that, assuming 
for the sake of argument the correctness of his theory, there might 
be a means of reconciling it with mine, which places Mount Sinai 
in the ' east country ' beyond the land of Edom and its sea— the 
Red (Edom) Sea, or Gulf of Akaba ; whereas Professor Brugsch's 
views appear to be utterly irreconcilable with those of the Ordnance 
Surveyors and the traditionists, who place that mountain in the 
Peninsula between the Gulfs of Akaba and Suez, far away to the 
south of the ' south country.' " 




Meteorological Observations made on a Journey to 

Mount Sinai (Jebel Baghir). 
By Dr. Charles T. Beke, Ph.D., F.S.A., F.R.G.S., &c. 












17454 17 

Deg. E 






Jan. 31, 8 a.m. 

Foot of Mount Sinai 

• • ■ 


• a • 

• ■ • 

• a • 



„ noon. 


a a a 


• • • 

• * • 

■ • * 

5136. Ane- 
roid probably 


„ 44 p.m. 

. 1, 8 A.M. 

Foot of mountain. 

• • * 


■ • • 

i • • 

shaken 1876. 




2a 17 



» • • 



lt noon. 

Wady Hesma. 

■ • • 



• • • 

» • • 


„ 2 P.M. 

Mount Ataghtagf eh 

• • • 

• • • 


• • • 

i • a 




tt ^ tt 

Wady Hesma. 

• • • 

• • ■ 


• •« 

■ * • 



2, 1\ A.M. 

• • • 



• * ■ 

» • • 

• • • 


tt 8 „ 



a a a 

* • • 

207.8 2C 


• •• 


3,7 „ 





• • • 

■ as 

a • • 


,i O P.M. 

Wady Ithem, a little 
above station of 
Jan. 31st. 




• • • 

a a • 



4, 7 A.M. 




• • • 

I a a 

• 9 » 


,, noon. 

Wady Amran. 


28. 23 27.32 

* • • 

i a a 



5, 7 A.M. 





• • • 

• a 

• • a 


„ 3 P.M. 

f Sea-shore, north ) 
\ of Akaba. / 




• • • 

a a 

• a ■ 


tt " it 

• » • 



« * • 

. . 

t » 9 


6, 10 A.M. 




• • • 


• a 

• a • 


,. H p.m. 




• • • 

• • • 

a a 

• a • 


7, 8 A.M. 





■ • • 

a a 

9 • • 


tt 3J P.M. 

Wady Satkh. 




• • • 

1 • a 



8, 7 A.M. 





• • • 

a • 

a a a 


„ 10 A.M. 

Ras es Satkh. 

• • • 



• • • 

• a 



„ 4 P.M. 

( EtTih, below ) 




• • • 

• a 



9, 6J a.m. 1 Tarf-el-Rukn. i 




■ • • 

a a 

a a a 


„ 4j P.M. 


• ■ • 



• • • 

# m 



10, 7 A.M. 





• • • 

• a 

• •a 


,, 6 P.M. 

Wady Rith. 




• • • 

a • 



11, 6J a.m. Do. 




• •• 

a a 

a • • 


„ 9 P.M. 

Kallaat en Nakhl. 




• •• 

a a 

1044 br 
Aneroid B ; 
919 by 
Aneroid M. 


12, 7 A.M. 



• • • 

• • • 

• •• 

a m 

• ■ « 


! >> 

tt 8 „ 



• * • 

• • ■ 





tt 6J P.M. 

Wady Nethilah. 




• •• 

a a 


i ** 

13,7 A.M. 





• •• 


■ t a 


„ 6 P.M. 

Wady-el- Hawawiet. 




• • • i 

• a 


1 tt 

14, 7 A.M. 





« • • 

• • 

a a a 


tt *^9 tt 

Jebel Heitan. 

* * • 


* • • 

• • • 

a • 



.t 8 *.* 

Ras el Gibab. 



■ •« i 

• • 



15, 7 A.M. 


■ • • 

29.07 28.17 

• • • 

* a 



„ 6 p.m. Plain of Nowatir. 



■ • • 

• a 



16* 7 A.M. Do. 



♦ » • 

• • • 


„ 7 P.M. 




• • » 




• • a 


Remark*. — The hypsometers were certified at Kew Observatory 
in April 1873 to have minus errors varying from .05 to .20 of a 

Aneroid B was found to have a plus error of 0.21 at outset, and 
0.23 on return. Nothing appears to be known of its behaviour 
under great change of pressure and temperature. 

Aneroid M indicated nearly one inch too low. 

When the hypsometer observations are corrected for the errors 
found nine months previously, and the corresponding pressures 
taken from Regnault's Tables of Tension, these pressures do not 
agree, as they should do, with the readings of aneroid B corrected 
for its said error. 

It may safely be assumed that the bulbs of the hypsometers 
have contracted sufficiently to eradicate the minus errors. Still, 
even assuming the hypsometers to be correct, it does not reconcile 
their indications with those of aneroid B unless it be also assumed 
that the error assigned to it is not satisfactory, although the dis- 
cordance is then not so great. Accordingly, the hypsometers have 
to be considered correct, and used to check aneroid B, and B has 
been used to check M. Thus, on 

Feb. 1, hypsometer 209 s = prennre 28.18 ; aneroid 29.17, oor. +.01 
2, „ 207.8 = „ 27.51 „ 27.61 „ -.10 

6, „ 212.2 = „ 30.04 „ 30.18 „ -.14 

12, „ 210.85= „ 29.25 „ f 

16, „ 212.6 = „ 30.22 „ 30.27 „ -.05 

Rejecting the first, which is marked doubtful, the mean is -10, 
and this correction has been used throughout for aneroid B. 

Dove's Thermal Charts show the mean temperature to be 60° in 
February in the peninsula of Sinai; and Buchan's Memoir on 
Atmospheric Pressure gives for 

Suei, in January 30.095, and in February 30.127 
IimaiUa, „ 30.062 „ 30.079 

Port Said, „ 30.080 „ 30.103 

Cairo, „ 30.000 „ 30.036 

The mean of these is 30.07, which corrected for latitude, as the 
formula for finding heights requires, is 30.03 inches; and this 
agrees very closely with the actual observations at the sea level 

R. Strachan. 
May 12, 1874. 




Copy of Professor Oliver's Determination of Plants col- 
lected near Akaba by Mr. John Milne, F.G.S., ON 
Dr. Beke's Expedition to Sinai in Arabia, January and 
February 1874. 1 

Diplotaxis (Moricaudia) hesperidiflora, DC. Between Akaba and 

Erucaria aleppica, Gaert. Between Akaba and Suez. 
Zilla myagroides, Forsk. Madian. 
Malcolmia pulchella, Boiss. Between Akaba and Suez. 
Crucifer in fl. and young pod only. I have not yet determined 

this (Petala florida purpura viuosa). Between Akaba and Suez. 
Cleome droaerifolia, Del. Madian., 
Capparis spinosa, L. 1 (leaves). Jebel Baghir. 
Reseda canescens, L. Wady Etham. 
Polycarpaea prostrata, Decaisne. Akaba. 
Fagonia cretica (Arabica and vara.). Wady Etham, Madian, and 

between Akaba and Suez 1 
Erodium pulverulentum 1 Cav. or E. laciniatnm Cav. 1 (minute 

specimen). Between Akaba aud Suez. 
Erodium sp. 1 indeterminable. Between Akaba and Suez. 
Sageretia brandrethiana, 3 Aitcb. % (very near S. theezans). Jebel 

Zizyphus Spina-Christi (leafy specimen only). Jebel Baghir. 
Ononis. 8 A monstrous state of 0. Natrix ? (calyx lobis dentatis). 

Jebel Baghir. 
Cassia acutifolia, Del. Between Akaba and Suez. 
Acacia (minute fragment). Madian. 
Trigoiiella sp. 1 Insufficient Wady Ethnm. 
Genista monosperma (Retama Roe tain). Between Akaba and Suez. 
Colutea haleppica, Lam. ? Jebel Baghir. 
Onobrychis 1 (leaf only). Between Akaba and Suez. 
Astragalus ? (leaves). Akaba. 
Calendula arveusis \ Between Akaba and Suez. 
Conyza, 4 an sp. nov. 1 Can this be a glabrous variety of C. 

©gyptiaca 1 Madian. 
Artemisia, an A maritima. Akaba. 

1 See " Notes on the Flora of the Desert of Sinai," by Richard Milne 
Redhead, F.L.S., in "Journal of Linnean Society/' vol. ix, 1867, in illustra- 
tion of the present list. 

* Had not been found east of the Muscat region of Arabia. 

* If normal, is curious. 4 Appears to be a new species. 

2 P 



Scorzonera? (leafy specimen). Eaten by Beduins ; called by them 

Sasel. Not determinable. 
Senecio coronopifolius. Between Akaba and Suez. 
Salvia aegyptiaca, L. Wady Etham and Akaba. 
Salvia deserti, Decaisne. Akaba. 
Lavandula, an L. pubescens, L. multifida, and a few additional 

indeterminable Labiate. Jebel Baghir. 
Anchusa ? (imperfect specimen). Akaba. 
Phelipea, probably P. lutea, Deaf. Madian (with drawing). 
Forakolea tenacissima, L. Akaba. 
Mercurialis annua, L. Jebel Baghir. 
Merendera caucasica, M.B. Jebel Baghir. 
Muscari botryoides, Mill. Jebel Baghir. 
Muscari frons (leaf \) 
Notholaena lanuginosa. Wady Etham. 
Cheilanthes odorata. Jebel Baghir. 




List of Shells collected on Dr. Beke's Expedition to 
Sinai in Abasia in 1874, by Mr. John Milne, F.G.S. 

1. Conus arenatus. • 

2. Cassis vibes. 

3. Nerita polita. 

4. Turbiuella polygons, 

5. Psammobia rugosa. 

6. Malea pomum. 

7. Triton pilearis. 

8. Strombus gibberulus. 

First List 

9. Conus nussatella. 

10. Cerithium nodulosum. 

1 1. Conus tesselatus. 

12. Terebellum subulatum. 

13. Modulus tectum. 

14. Nassa arcularia. 

15. Strombus urcens. 

16. Clanculus pharaonis. 

1. Amphidesma. 

2. Triton rubecula. 

3. Harpa solida. 

4. Young Cyprsea. 

5. Polliasp. 

6. Haliotis. 

7. Mactra decora. 

8. Cardita angisulcata, 

9. Purpura intermedia. 

10. Area. 

11. Conus quercinus. 

12. Pecten senatorius. 

13. Area decussata. 

1 4 Natica mammilla. 

15. Nassa Bp. 

16. Phasiauella. 

17. Nassa. 

18. Venus. 

19. Conus textile. 

20. Lima squamosa. 

21. Ricinula mono. 

22. Trochus virgatus. 

23. Circe arabica. 

24. Conus virgo. 

25. Venus crispata. 

Second List. 













Cypraea globulus. 
Pecten ziezae. 
Cerithium sp. 
Turbo margaritaceus. 
Cbama ruppellii. 
Nerita arabica. 
Fusus sp. 
Cytherea blanda. 
Tridacna elongata. 
Pectunculus paucipictus. 
Terebra nubecnlata. 
Strombus fusiform is. 
Pecten pes-felis. 
Area ban ley an a. 
Strombus floridus. 
Nerita haustrum. 
Trochus sanguinolentiia. 
Cypraea turdus. 
Cou us mouile. 
Pteria young. 
Lucuna divaricata. 
Conus pennaceny. 
Natica albula. 
Acra antiquata. 



51. Lucinapila. 

52. Operculum of Turbo. 

53. Tellina scobiculta. 

54. Cerithium. 

55. Lucina tumida. 

56. Strombua gibberalus, &c. 

57. Tellina ragoaa. 

58. Natica. 

59. ClanculuB pharaonia. 

60. Pectunculus lividus. 

61. Ricinula elongate. 




Aaron, 64, 76. 

Abana river, 48. 

Abbas Pasha, 477. 

Abdeb, 57. 

Abdin, palace of, 239, 503, 505. 

Abimelech, 55. 

Abocharabos, 3a 

Abraham, 3, 47, 48, 51, 55, 68, 

100, 101. 
Abu Nabut, 223, 226, 229, 230, 

234. 254, 382, 387, 389, 432, 

445, 458. 493. 5*ii 5". 
Abydos, table of, 88, 89, 90. 

Abyssinia, 53, 81, 119, 241, 242, 

323, 3*4, 398, 4°<>i 520. 
Abyssinians, 97, 12a 

Africa, 53. 

Aila, 2a 

Ainfinah, 325, 326, 327, 328, 33a 

Aqueduct of, 329. 

Airy, Sir G. B., 395. 

Akaba, 71, 187,220, 221, 224, 225, 

244, 24s, 372-375. 37*i 444, 

456, 458, 492. 
Castle of, 372, 373, 375. 
Garrison of, 376, 379. 
Governor (Muhanz), 385, 390, 

45i» 457. 
Gulf of, 3, 6, 38, 46, 62, 66, 67, 

72, 74, 77, 360-367, 370, 37i. 
Head of, 372, 458, 459, 464. 

Money for, 236. 

Mudir of, 255. 

Akaba — 
Sheikh of, 255, 265, 374, #3- 
389, 396, 438. 
Albert Nyanza, 496. 
Alexandria, 5, 26, 31, 120, 147, 

154, 179, 369, S2i. 
Harbour of, 164, 252, 523. 

Library of, 84. 
American cousins, 133. 

Consulate, 172. 

Oriental topographical corps, 
509, 516-519. 

Palestine exploration, 44a 
Ammonias, 20, 21, 23, 27, 29. 
Ammonites, 67, 68. 
Anthony, St., 19. 
Antioch, 24. 
Apecarius, Julius, 84. 
Apis, 41. 

Arabah Wady, or Ghor, 67. 
Arabia, 4, 5, 29, 335. 

Peninsula of, 367. 
Arabia Petrsea, 4. 
Arabian Desert, 73. 
Arabian Gulf, 20, 362, 368, 369. 
Arabians, Syro, 97, 99. 
Arabic, 32. 
Arabs, 18, 498. 
Arab tribes — 

Aluwln, Sheikh of, 383, 389, 

391, 396, 425, 426, 44©f 456. 
Amrani, 439, 441. 
Azdzimeh, 8. 



Arab'tribes — 
Beni Ughba, 348. 
Dress of, 440, 476. 
Helwat, 474, 477. 

Taiyaha, 445, 47& 
Terabln, 445, 478. 
Towara, 389, 432, 440, 441, 446, 

45 6 » 457, 477- 
Aram Naharaim, 48, 49. 

Arendrup, Lieut, von, 519, 520. 

Aretas, 4. 

Arlsh Wady-el, 62, 63. 

Asenath, 103. 

Asia, 53, 54. 

Asiatics, 97. 

Ass, the, 99. 

Assyria, 51, 68. 

• AtheniBum,' the, 142, 145, 177, 

260, 50a 

Aujeh, El, 62. 

Avalitic Gulf, 2a 

BAghir, 481. 

Baghir Jebel, 13, 381, 392, 393, 

396, 399, 401, 402, 406 to 412, 

425, 437, 442, 464, 471, 474, 

5°3, 5<M, 5<>5- 
Bahr el Ghazal, 162. 

Bairam, Feast of, 378. 

Baker, Sir S., 127. 

Bakhshish, 437, 439. 

Barakan Island, 322, 324. 

Battan, Ras Sheikh el, 311, 312. 

Beduins, 12, 13, 73, 74, 405, 409, 

414, 427, 428, 429, 430, 431. 

Beer-lahai-roi, 51. 

Beersheba, 2, 62. 

Beke, Dr., 69, 434, 524. 

Bekcsbourae, 494. 

Bered, 51. 

Bethel, 48, 49, 5a 

Beyerle\ Mr., 168. 

Birch, Dr. Samuel, 122. 

Bir el Mashiyah, 355, 356, 357. 

Blemmyes, 2a 

Brindisi, 138. 

British Consulate, 493. 

British flag, 297. 

British Government, 241, 502. 

British interests, 335. 

British Magazine, 171. 

British Museum, 516. 

British subjects, 295. 

Brugsch Bey, 507, 511, 521. 

Burckhardt, 11, 14, 15, 16, 144, 

320, 330, 345, 346, 347, 386v 
417, 418, 419. 

Burton, Capt. BL, 69, 146, 177. 

Burton, Mrs., 170, 33a 

Bush, the, 21. 

Byzantine, 12. 

Cairo, 12, 166, 167, 191, 193, 194, 

231, *59, 489, 5<>3- 
Cemetery of, 202. 

Esbekiah, 503. 

Hotels o^ 153, 163, 167, 196. 

Museum of, 179, 202. 

Post-office of, 193, 195, 511. 

Telegraph Company at, 201, 
259, 260, 261, 267, 294. 
Camels, 60, 99, 478. 
Canaan, 48, 52, 54, 65. 
Canals, 243. 

Canterbury, Archbishop of, 515. 
Casluhim, 47, 5a 
Catherine, Mount St, 11, 12. 
Caves, 485. 

Champollion, 85, 89, 512. 
Children of Israel, 45. 
Christ, the, 166. 
Christians, 9, 44, 37a 
Clarke, Mr. Latimer, 174. 
Cleopatra's Needle, 71. 
Clysma, 2a 

Colenso, Bishop, 73, 94. 
Constantinople, 31. 
Controversy, 556. 



Cook, Thomas, & Co., 168, 184, 

189, 225, 250. 
Cook's tourists, 409, 415. 
Cooke, Mr. W. E., 250. 
Copper mines, 39, 71. 
Coral reefs, 321.: 
Cosmas Indicopleustes, 27, 29, 31. 
Cotton, 243. 
Cul-de-sac, 39. .' 

Dahabiehs, 214, 215. 
Dalmatia, 15. 
Damascus, 4, 5, 15, 48. 
Darfur, 177, 242. 
Dead Sea, 9, 67. . 
Desert of the Exodus,. 35, 56. ' 
Dillon, Mr. F., 184; 302, 56I., 
Din^as, 113,' ri4* . . 
Dowar, 60. , 

Dragomans, 198, 204, 207, 223, 
225, 228, 230; 231. 
Abdullah Joseph, 495, 497. 
Drake, Mr. C. Tyrwhitt, 56. 
Dromedary, the, 99, 100, 

East Country, 3, 67, 74, 75, 80. 
Ebers, Dr., 14. 
Eboda, 57. 
Editors, 209, 268. 
Edom, 38, 46, 66, 363, 364. 
.^ Sea -of, 46, 66. 

Egypt* 6, 9, 10, 17, 25, 38, 39, 45. 
46, So» 5*. 5*» 56, 80, 81, 92, 
93, 106, 116, 117, 119, 120, 123, 
127, 147, 179. 180, 187, 196- 
i98» 259, 367, 369, 370, 383, 
Bank of, 161, 167, 238. 
Fellah of, 206. 
" History of," 202. 
Its finances, 294, 295. 
Lists of sovereigns of, 82, S3, 

84, 85, 92. 
Money for, 210, 238. 

Monuments of, 85-92. 
Museum of, 91- . 
"Notes on/.* 269^-284,488. 
Post-office of, 299. . 
Biverof, 63. . 

Egyptians, 21, 39, 40^ 41. 94, 96* 
97, 99, 100, 101, 105, 106, 1-13, 
116,367. . 

Egyptologists, 122. 

Egyptian Government, 295, 296. ' 

Egyptian mining. settlements, 42, 

Egyptian Muhafiz, 373. 377, 379t 

38a .' ' 

Egyptian mummies, .514. 
Egyptian navy, 335, 511. 
Egyptian Trading Co:, 160. 
Elanitic Gulf, 17. 
Elijah, the Prophet, 416. 

Elim, 41. 72, 4°5- 

Elisha, the Prophet, 55, 56. 

El Tih, 473. 

England, the Queen of, 335, 397. 

English language, 324. 

•Erin,' the, 266, 267, 286, 288, 

291, 293, 296, 297, 298, 299, 

301, 302, 3<>3» 378, 381, 387, 

388, 487. 49i. 
Crew of, 374. 
Eshkol, 58. 
Eternal, the, 55. 
Euphrates, 63, 68. 
Eusebius, 84. 
Eutychius, 44. 
Evans, Capt, 139, 140, 149 
Exodus of the Israelites, 46, 94, 

98, 112, 118, 123. 

Fairbairn, Sir W., 255. 
Fedrigo Pasha, 163, 164, 165, 180. 
Feiran, 7, 8, 17, 27. 
Firman, 220, 221, 227, 245, 254, 
255> 265. 



Fiskfyeh, 60. 
Fleischer, Prof, 501. 
Fleming, Mr. R., 163. 
Foreign Office, 155, 493. 
Forster Bey, 288, 294, 295, 296. 
Fowler, Mr., 250, 255, 256, 557. 
French, 205, 504. 

Language of the, 324. 
Frere, Sir Bartle, 381. 

Galatians, 4. 

Garrod, Dr., 233. 

Gaul, 1 01. 

Gaza, 19. 

Genesis, 47, 50, 72. 

Geographical Society, 96, 125, 

Geology, 407, 525. 

Specimens, 387,405, 476, 487. 
George, Capt, 127, 412. 
Gerar, 51, 55. 
Gesenius, 107, 108. 
Ghor, the, 73. 
Gibbs, Mr., 267, 491. 
Gideon, 68, 71. 
Gold, 69. 
Gondokoro, 495. 
Gordon Pasha, 127, 128, 158, 494- 

497, 5«>. 
Goshen, Land of, 106, 1 10, 285. 

Governments, 429. 

Greeks, 7, 19, 31, 32. 

Greenfield, Mr., 252. 

Haag, Mr. Carl, 185, 213. 

Hadj, the, 129, 231. 

Hagar, 51. 

Hale, Archdeacon, 515. 

Ham, 47. 

Hammam, Fir'dn, 306. 

Halevy, Mr., 499. 

Haran, 48, 175, 229. 

Harm Radjla, 386, 440. 

Has Bashi, 382. 

Hashim, 522. 

Havilah, 51, 68, 72. 

Hebrew Scriptures, 45. 

Hebrews, 106; 107, 109. 

Hebron. 27, 51, 57, 58, 62. 

Hecataeufl, 80, 83. 

Hematite (iron ore), 476. 

Herodotus, 80, 82, 83, 95, 367. 

Heroopolitan Gulf, 17, 2a 

Hieroglyphics, 39, ioo, 514, 515. 

Hilarion, 19. 

Himyaritic inscriptions, 423, 499. 

Hiram, 38. 

Hittites or Scyths, 96. 

Holland, Mr., 285, 523. 

Holy Scriptures, 47. 

Hor, Mount, 394. 

Horeb, 2, 12, 16, 28, 37, 76, 77. 

404, 405, 412, 417, 503. 
Hon tea, 381. 
Horse, the, 99, 100. 
Hyksos or Shepherd Kings, 93, 

95, 96, 98. 99, 100, ioi, 106, 
113, 116, 123, 200, 202, 204. 

Ibrahim Pasha, 415. 

Idol in Horeb, 249. 

Idumeea, 8. 

Indian Ocean, 367. 

Inscriptions, 33, 44. 

Irby and Mangles, Captains, 129, 

Isaac, 55, 56. 
Ishmael, 51, 68. 
Ishmaelites, 25, 68, 72, 74. 
Ishmeelites, 100. 
Ismail Pasha, 165. 
Ismailia, 288. 
Israel, Children of, 98. 
Israel, Land of, 55. 
Israelites, 22, 40, 41, 42, 46, 55, 

93* 94, »5, "6, 118, 320, 360, 

364, 365» 396, 404, 4<>S, 424, 

434, 5"- 


60 1 

Israelites - 
Encampment by Red Sea of, 

36, 72, 340. 
Reljgion of, 73. 
Exodus of, 365. 
Passage of Red Sea of, 433, 452, 

454t455. 459> 5»- 
Italian, 324. 

Jacob, 55, 100, 101, 103. 
'Jacob's Flight,' 48, 151, 176. 
Jebel Ataghtagieh, 415, 416. 
Jebel Erotawa, 404, 412,415, 503, 

Jebel Harun, 396. 
Jebel Hesma, 417. 
Jebel Katarina, 9, 11, 12, 15, 16, 

34, 42, 43- 
Jebel Magrah, 8, 59. 

Jebel Maujar, 475. 

Jebel Musa, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 

27-37, 42, 43, 77. 
Jebel-e'-Nfir, 226, 229, 246, 251, 

252, 3<>5» 393i 394, 39^, 397, 
434, 440, 464, 475> 495, 49*, 
499, 513, 520. 
Jebel Serbal (see Serbal). 
Jebel Shafeh, 417. 
Jebel Shera, 415,417. 
Jebel Suwlkhed, 354. 
Jebel Tor, 396. 
Jeremiah, 363. 
Jerome, 77. 
Jerusalem, 15. 

Jesirat Firfm, 359, 452, 460, 469. 
' Jesus the Messiah,' 32, 166. 
Jethro, 72, 75, 344. 

Cave of, 230. 
Jews, 2, 9, 170, 367,369. 

History of the, 53. 
Jordan, 3, 67, 77. 
Joseph, 52, 54, 68, 93, 100, ioi, 
103-106, 109-112, 117, 118, 


Josephus, 2, 3, 5, 8, 1 6, 29, 33, 

67, 83, 84, 98, 118. 
Judges, 69. 

Julian, Emperor, 19, 23. 
Justin Martyr, 5. 
Justinian, Emperor, 29, 30, 31, 


Kadesh, 9, 51. 
Barnea, 5 1 9. 

Kala'at en Nakhal, 57, 397, 479, 
480, 481. 

Kay, Mr., 157. 

Kebir, Wady el, 62. 

Kent, 479, 492. 

Keturah, 3, 67, 68. 

Khartum, 113,495. 
Railway to, 216. 

Khe'dive, the, 66, 127, 150, 151, 
154, 160, 165, 188, 190, 194, 
203, 216, 217, 221, 234, 240, 
241, 242, 243, 244, 394, 395, 

456, 475, 484, 492, 496, 497, 

502, 503-S08. 
Kilauea, 13a 
Koran, the, 305, 401, 473, 486, 

Kordofan, 177, 242. 

Laborde, M., 17, 117. 

Lahai-roi, 55. 

Land of Bondage, 46. 

Lapis Pharanites, 7, 18, 44. 

Ledja valley, 11, 15. 

Lepsius, Prof., 7, 8, 13, 33, 34, 43, 

85, 89, 101, 103, 104, 106, 117, 

Lesseps, M. de, 177, 195, 196, 199, 

201, 242, 285. 
Levick, Mr., 292, 301. 
Libyan Desert, 162, 177, 188, 194, 

205, 242, 508. 
Livingstone, Dr., 207, 487, 508. 
Lore to, 15. 



Lot, 67. 
Lucius, 24, 26. 
Ludim, 47, 50. 
Lysa, 57. 

Ma* an, 417, 419. 
Macgregor, Mr. J., 176. 
Maghara Sho'eib, 72, 341, 343, 344. 

Maghara, 7, 44. 359. 45 1 , 460. 

462, 485. 
Magi, 5. 

Mahaserat (Musry), 467. 
Malta, 307, 321. 
Maltese, 333. 
Manetho, 76, 79, 81, 83, 84, 89, 

96, 118, 119. 
Manethonic lists, 92, 118, 122. 
Mangles, Capt, 129. 
Marietta Bey, 85-92, 93, 99, 116, 

200, 203, 204. 
Massowah, 249, 267. 
Mauritius, 329. 
Mavia, 23, 24, 25, 30. 
M/Killop Pasha, 163, 180, 244, 

254, 288, 294, 296, 376, 522. 
Mecca, 129. 
Mediterranean, 484. 
Menes, 84, 85, 90. 
Menzaleh, Lake, 94. 
Mesopotamia, 48. 
Meteorological Observations, 413, 

433, 435> 471. 591. 
Mezari, 57, 59. 
Midian (Mugna), 3, 67, 69, 71, 72, 

73. 74, 75. 76, 77. 336-34*, 

359, 371, 441, 492. 
Fort of, 351. 
Midianites, 68, 72, 74, 100. 
Milan, 135. 

Milman, Dean, 52, 53, 424. 
Milne, Mr. J., 125, 126, 128, 129, 

130-13 6 , 174, 179, 200, 218, 
231, 246, 302, 382, 387, 395, 
399, 402, 405, 415, 416, 436, 

451, 456, 460, 475, 478, 487; 

501. • 
Mining settlements, 42. 
Missionaries, 173. 
Mitzraim, 38, 39, 45, 46, 47, 49, 

50. 51. 5*. 54, 55, 68, 8o, 93, 
98, 99, 100, 103, 104, 105, 
109, no, 116, 117, 118, 120, 

122, 123. 

Mitzraim of Scripture, 56, 62, 77. 

Nakhal, 63, 64, 75, 76. 

Yeor of, 65, 66. 
Mitzrites, 93, 94, 95, 98, 99, i°o, 
104, i<>5. 108-113, 115, 116, 

123, 200, 359, 360, 362, 363, 

365, 369. 37i, 4*4- 
Moabites, 67, 68. 

Mohammed Ali Pasha, 253. 

Mohammed Pasha, 287, 290, 294. 

Morrieson, Colonel R., 152, 161, 

2»5i 295, 302, 516. 
Moses, 2, 3, 10, 11, 21-29, 38, 

39, 42, 64, 72, 73, 74, 75, 
76, 78, 93, ioi, 112, "5, Il8 » 
344, 359, 363, 364, 381, 4i6, 
486, 502. 

Mosque of, 349, 350. 

Mountain of Light, 397, 402, 436. 

Munzinger Bey," 260, 261, 267. 

Murray, Mr. J., 129, 508* 509, 

Nain, 8. 

Nakhal Mitzraim, 62, 63, 64, 75, 

Nares, Sir 6. S., 308. 
Negeb, or South Country, 49, 50, 

5i, 53, 54, 56, 58, 74, 98. 
Nicon, 19, 20, 27. 

Nile, 52, 53, 54, 56, 63, 64, 65, 123, 

368, 495. 
Boils, 177. 
Nilus, 19, 21, 22, 23, 27, 29. 
Northcote, SirS. H., 502, 51a 



North cote, Mr., 513. 

Nubar Pasha, 158, 165, 168, 177, 
179, 181, 183, 185, 187, 191. 
194, 220, 234, 241, 244, 245* 
258. 254, 259, 263, 268, 294, 
295, 491. 504, 506, 507, 509. 

Obedian, 21, 23, 24, 30. 

Onkelos, 115, 116. 

Ophir, 72. 

Ophthalmia, 198. 

Oppenheim, Messrs., & Co., 154, 

158, 160, 168, 177, 179, i8ii 

Ordnance Survey, 34, 37, 38, 43, 

Map, 37. 

' Origines Biblicas,' 6, 46, 52, 67, 

781 93. 104, "5, 180, 366. 
Orton, 510. 

Owen, Prof., 96, 99, 250, 256, 259, 
5^3. 5«S. 

Paget, Admiral Lord C, 516, 

Palestine, 19, 25, 29, 30, 58. 
Palgrave, Mr., 347, 348, 419, 420. 
•Palinurus,' H.M.S., 334, 358. 
4 Pall Mall Gazette/ 518. 
Palmer, Prof., 7, 8, 14, 34, 35, 37, 

39, 4i, 56, 57, 58. &» 423. 

427, S23. 
Papyrus of Turin, 85. 

Paran, 7, 8, 9, 28, 44, 51. 

Paris, 131. 

Passports, 154, 155. 

Pathrusim, 47, 50. 

Paul, St, 4, 5, 15, 22. 

Apostle, the, 67. 

Paulus, Dr., of Jena, 52. 

Peiran, 8. 

Peninsular and Oriental Co., 135, 

138, 152, 289, 290, 304, 487, 


Pelusium, 96. 

Pentateuch, 2, 6, 9, 46, 64, 65, 1 70, 

Hebrew, 93. 
Persia, 23. 
Persian Gulf, 368. 
Petra, 129, 415, 417. 
Peutinger tables, 57. 
Pharan, 7, 8, 17, 18, 19, 23, 27, 

28, 30, 32, 368. 
Peninsula of, 38, 42, 44, 75. 
Pharaoh, 3, 39, 40, 74, 100, 101, 

103, 106, 109, 112, 118, 123, 

359, 369, 45 1» 453, 454, 455, 
464, 486. 

Pharpar river, 48. 
Philiatia, 55. 
Philistim, 47, 50. 
Philistines, 45, 47, 51, 52, 96, 99, 
105, 200, 371. 

Land of, 54, 55, 93. 

King of, 55. 
Phoenicia, 23. 
Pilgrims, 472, 477. 
Pi-ha-hiroth, 230, 460, 461, 462, 

463, 483. 
Pilot, 308, 309. 

Pithom, 103. 

Plato, 81. 

Pliny, 7, 44- 

Porter, Dr. , 229. 

Potiphar, 100. 

Potipherah, 103. 

Procopius, 28, 29, 30, 31, rot. 

Promised Land, 64. 

Psammitichus, 79. 

Ptolemy, 7, 9, 17, 18, 27. 

Philadelphus, 79, 82. 
« Punch,' 513. 
Punic, 324. 
Pyramids, the, 231. 

Builders of, 95, 96. 

Quarantine, 149. 



RadjlA, Harm, 129. 

Rahab, 77. 

Rahah, Er, 36. 

Raitha, 19, 21. 

Raithu, 27. 

Ramadhan, 308, 309, 331. 

Ramsay, Prof., 124. 

Ramses, 71. 

Ramses II., 88, 89, 90, 103. 

Ras Mohammed, 3x6, 317. 

Cape of, 317, 318. 

El Musry, 460, 461, 463, 465, 
466, 468. 
Ras en Nagb, 469. 

£1 Satkh, 471, 472. 

£1 Gibab, 483. 

Fartak, 334. 
Rawlinson, Prof., 96. 
Red Sea, 3, 6, 20, 29, 30, 38, 40, 46, 

66, 72, 74. 
Red (Edom) Sea, 360, 361, 362, 

363. 365» 366. 3*8. 369* 37i, 
Coral reefs, 331. 

Rechabites, 73, 74. 
Rephidim, 404. 
Ritter, 31, 120, 121. 
Robinson, Dr. £., 34, 107, 464- 

469, 505. 
Rogers, Mr. E. T., 169, 174, 177, 
178, 184, 185, 186, 224. 

Consul, 491. 

Miss M. £., 170. 
Roblfs, Dr. Gerhard, 188. 
Romans, 7, 24, 25. 
Royal Geographical Society, 232, 

304, 381, 395. 4i3» 448, 487. 
Rtippell, 13, 16, 34, 330, 505. 

Russia, Emperor of, 397. 

Russians, 243, 263. 

Ryyah Ras, 314. 

Sahara, Desert of, 205, 242. 
Said Pasha, 243. 

Sais, 81. 

Samaritans, 170, 171, 172. 

Samson, 55. 

San, 94. 

Saqqarah, table of, 90. 

Sarabit el Khadim, 4a 

Saracens, 17, 18, 22, 24, 25, 3a 

Saxon language, 324. 

Schnepp, Dr., 94. 

Schweinfurth, Dr., 205, 242. 

Sciassar, Captain, 293, 300, 381, 

383. 449. 
Scriptures, Hebrew, 93, 99, 100, 


Scripture History, 54. 

Scrope, Mr. Poulett, 130, 131, 

Secretaries, 267. 

Seils, 59. 

Seid Bey, 29a 

Semites, 101, 106. 

Septuagint Greek version, 49, 50, 

"5. "7. 369- 
Serbal, 8, 10-17, 2 7» 2 8, 30, 31, 

32, 34, 42, 43. 
Sethi, 89, 90. 
Shaumur Um, 9, 16. 
Shearwater, H.M.S., 305. 
Sheba, 72. 
Shechem, 48. 
Sheikh Mohammed ibn Ijat, 404, 

425. 434. 456. 
Shellaby, Yakub esh, 169, 198, 

Shepheard's Hotel, 166. 
Shepherd Kings, 96, 97, 100, 106, 

117, 118, 123. 
Sherm el Monjeh, 318, 319. 
Shishak, 99. 
Shunamite widow, 55. 
Shur, 51, 68. 

Wilderness of, 362. 
Sidi Ali ibn 'Elem, 401, 413, 424, 

500, 502, 52a 

' Simla, * the, 135, 138. 

Sill, Wilderness of, 41. 

Sinai, a, 3. 4. S. 6. 9-"9> II, 33. 

27, 28, 34, 45, 47, 66, 67, 73, 

75,76,77, 124, «s, lag, 130, 

'35. 179. '87. "7, 246. 3S>. 


Sinai, Mount, 382, 392, 394, 396, 

400, 401, 402-413, 415, 4a* 

4*5< 434. 436. 440. 442. S<>5> 

S<*. 5i8, 5*3. 5*4- 

Thepeeudo, 312, 394.401. 51a. 

'Sinai a Volcano,' 53, 78, 182,366, 

395. 436. 439. 5*»- 
Sinaitic inscriptions, 13, 15, 28- 
33. 35. 36. 37. 40, 41. 43. 44. 
405, 406, 408, 423, 442, 443, 
464, 471, 47*, 476, 481, 486, 
499. 501. S03. S°6. 
Sir bonis, Lake, 511. 
Slave trade, 162, 505. 
Socrates, 23. 

Solomon, 38, 80, 99, 360, 363. 
Solon, 79, 81. 
South Country, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 

Stanley , Dean, 229, 366, 380, 383, 

Stanton, General, 161, 165, 177, 
179. 183, 184, 186, 190, 308, 
212, 220, 234, 249, 252, 356, 
493. 498, S«9> 5*3 
Steamers, 317, 327, 328, 235, 244, 

Stokes, Colonel, Sir J., 353, 521, 

Stone, General, 521. 
Buskin, 243, 495. 

Canal for, 255, 257. 
Snccoth, 392, 397. 479. 480, 481, 

Suez, 2S5, 286, 290, 487. 
Golf of, 6, 38, 43, 46, 6a, 360, 362, 
3*4-3«. 3*9. 370, 4*5. 49o. 

Post-office of, 233. 


r, 252. 

Isthmus of, 45. 
Suez Canal, 186, 195,489. 

Bridge over, 439. 
Sufsafeh, Ras, 16, 34, 35, 3 

Sutherland, Duke of, 193. 
SybUle, Ras, 314. 
Sylvanna, 18. 
Syncellus, Georgius, 84. 
Syria, 47, 398, 431. 
Syrian Desert, 68. 


Canal for, 355, 357. 
Takhterawan, 237, 258, 486 

Tayyibat Isem, 354. 
Teleilat el 'Anab, 58 
Tents, 249. 
Thabatha, 19. 
Thalee, So. 
Theodoret, 25. 
Theodolus, si, 33, 23. 
Thurbnrn, Mr. Hugh, 172, 
Tih, Desert of, 7. 

Fertilising of, 492, 
Tillemont, 18. 
' Times, The,' 347, 248, 

Tim&ah, Lake, 288. 
Tiiftn, Island of, 310, 321, 3 
Tod, Rathbone, & Co., 189 

238, 258. 
To'ebah, 107-118. 
Tor, 18, 21,27,28,312,313. 
Tothmes III., 87. 
Traditions, 34, 43, 6a, 74, 34, 

Do. (Palmer), 62, 74, 
Tramways, 243. 
Tridacua gigantea, 315. 




Turin, 133. 
Turkey, 335. 
Turquoise mines, 40. 

Ugum, 59. 

Valens, Emperor, 23, 25. 

Venice, 13s, 136. 

Victor, 25. 

Volcanoes, 124, 125, 129, 131, 250, 

Volney, M., 420, 421, 422. 

Wady el Ain, 58. 
Amran, 392, 436, 437» 433' 

Arabah, 67, 410, 458, 519. 

El 'Artoh, 63, 371, 479, 480, 481, 

4«4» 4»5» 5I9- 
Water parting of, 485. 

Wady Berein, 59, 60, 62. 

Gaseimeh, 58. 

Hanein, 60, 62. 

Hawawiet, 482. 

Imshash, 472. 

I them (Etham), 386, 391, 404, 

410, 413, 415, 437, 442, 443, 

444. 449, 519- 
El Kebir, 62. 
El Khali], 58. 
Kureis, 477. 

Wady Lussan, 57. 

Magharah, 40. 

Mahaserat (Musry), 460, 461, 
463, 467, 483, 487. 

Nasb, 40. 

NethiUh, 482. 

El Satkh, 464. 

Es Seram, 58. 

Sigilliyeh, 14. 
Washington, Admiral, 305. 
West, H.B.M. Consul, 244, 288, 

Wetzstein, Prof., 33, 131, 176. 
Wilderness of the Exodus, 38. 
Wilkinson, Sir G., 96. 
Wilton, Mr. E., 7. 
Wilson, Major C. W., 14, 176, 


Yakut, 129,44a 

Yam Suf, 38, 46, 66, 361, 362, 

363. 364, 37i. 
Yeor, 63, 65, 66. 

Young, Mr., 513. 

Zalmunna, 68. 
Zebah, 68. . 
Zebir Jebel, 9, 16. 
Zeila, 20. 
Zelimeh, Abu, 42. 
Zoan, 94. 




ft R_A W 

M £ 

Q Khui 



Qt IanuulUL* 





to illustrate 
B T . Bekes Route in search of the Irue 



jy Bret's Route 

English. Mile* 
to 30 












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» '